1. Hazard and risk dynamics

1.1 Physics of Earthquakes:

Understanding and quantifying the physical processes involved in nucleation, rupture initiation and propagation of earthquakes, and knowing how these processes are related to the complexity of fault systems belong to our major scientific objectives within the research field “physics of earthquakes”.

1.2 Fluid-rock interactions in volcano and earthquake processes:

Earthquake and volcano processes are commonly accompanied by migration of fluids and the interaction with the deforming host rock, including the process of fracturing, fluid filled crack growth and diking. Changes in the state of fluid-rock systems are thought to encourage tectonic earthquakes, induce micro-seismicity and alter volcano activity, and vice versa. Therefore, monitoring and studying how fluid-rock systems act and change in time and space is one of the clues to better understand earthquake hazards and volcano eruptions.

1.3 Induced seismicity:

The occurrence of induced seismicity is facing increasing attention due to the occasional occurrence of events strong enough to be felt at the surface by the local population. The goal is to improve our understanding of physical processes and to assess seismic hazard related to induced und human-triggered seismicity in various types of georeservoirs due to man-made stress field changes e.g. through mining, water impoundment, massive fluid injection (hydro-fracking) or hydrocarbon production.

1.4 Earthquake, volcano and multi-type hazard assessment:

A particular challenge will be transferring improved process understanding into practical hazard assessment. In the case of quantifying the seismic hazard, for instance, more realistic models of stress transfer in the lithosphere/asthenosphere system will allow us to move from time-independent hazard estimates to time-dependent estimates that additionally take into account the development of stress at a particular fault system.

1.5 Earthquake site effects and microzonation:

Seismic hazard assessment requires knowledge not only of the earthquake sources and propagation of seismic waves, but also of the effect of wave-wave and wave-building interaction and of the local geology on earthquake ground shaking.

1.6 Earthquake risk dynamics:

The dynamics of multi-risk is dependent on the evolution of natural hazard and the quality of specific vulnerability and risk assessments including their time-dependent uncertainties. Within this framework we aim to develop innovative approaches, techniques and tools for assessing seismic and natural risk from a continuous, progressive and user-driven perspective. Strong focus is placed on collection and integration of interdisciplinary data, as remote-sensing, in-situ surveys and legacy data.