GEM TOPIQS Newsletter Issue No.27 June 2022  View this email in your browser

Dear GEM Partners and Friends,
Welcome to GEM’s second TOPIQs newsletter of 2022. The pandemic is not over, but restrictions are generally being relaxed as the severity of infections is decreasing. In view of this, GEM will hold its next governing board meeting in Pavia on 16-17 June, the first in-person governing board meeting since December 2019. Recognising the challenges of international travel and continuing covid threat, it will be a hybrid in-person/remote event. We continue to hope for a peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine and continued downward trend in Covid deaths. 

In our Top Story, we are happy to announce the release of GEM’s commercial China Earthquake Model, developed by GEM staff with expert feedback and advice from a diverse team of GEM sponsors, an approach that serves as a blueprint for GEM’s future models. The model is also available in its native OpenQuake format via GEM’s China Model product page for public-good, non-commercial use. More on this in the Top Story section below.

The InFocus section features TREQ Project hazard outputs and publications. The 3-year project supported by USAID is nearing its completion. In the next weeks, all deliverables will be available on the TREQ project website. Details in the InFocus section below.
We are also proud to have been part of the development and launch of the latest European Earthquake Hazard and Risk maps spearheaded by the EFEHR consortium. GEM’s OpenQuake Engine was used to run all hazard and risk calculations, resulting in risk metrics such as average annualised loss, probable maximum loss and regional hazard and risk maps.

During this period, GEM scientists have also participated in various international virtual and on-site conferences and events on loss models, and earthquake risk assessment.

The OpenQuake development team released a new engine version 3.14 including its complementary tool Integrated Risk Modelling Toolkit (IRMTK) QGIS plugin. 
Lastly, we’ve rounded up some interesting topics in this special edition of the Around the Internet section for your reading pleasure.
We value your opinion so please send us your suggestions and feedback to help us improve our next issues.
Wishing good health and peace to all,

John Schneider
Secretary General
GEM Foundation, Pavia, Italy

Forward to a friend


GEM releases a new earthquake loss model for China

developed by GEM staff with expert feedback and advice from a diverse team of GEM sponsors

Full article
GEM released its Earthquake Loss Model for China via Nasdaq Risk Modelling for Catastrophes and Verisk Touchstone platforms. The model is also available in its native OpenQuake format via GEM’s China Model product page. The China model has been developed by GEM using public sources of information, such as past seismicity, and geodetic and geologic data for the hazard component, combined with exposure and vulnerability data to create the risk model. | Read More >>
Jump to your favorites

GEM Updates
New earthquake assessments available to strengthen preparedness in Europe

The newly released update of the earthquake hazard model and the first open earthquake risk model for Europe are the basis for establishing mitigation measures and making communities more resilient... | Read more >>
Fault2SHA Learning Series: Modelling Earthquake Clustering

On May 9th, at the Fault2SHA Learning Series: Modelling Earthquake Clustering. (watch the recording here), Marco Pagani presented recent improvements to the OpenQuake Engine that enhance its capability to compute... | Read more >>
RISE Project Annual Conference, Florence, Italy

GEM represented by John Schneider participated in the Real-time earthquake rIsk reduction for a reSilient Europe or RISE annual project conference from May 11th - 13th in Florence, Italy. RISE is a 3-year project... | Read more >>
News Briefs: round up of GEM activities and events

GEM participates regularly in yearly regional and international gatherings that aim to promote and advance earthquake hazard science, earthquake engineering, software development and disaster risk reduction... | Read more >>
Urban hazard assessment of selected cities in Latin America
Latin America is no stranger to earthquakes and records reveal seismic activity in Quito (Ecuador) dating back to the 1587 Guayllabamba earthquake. The urban centres built on deep alluvial basins have the potential to amplify the seismic waves thereby increasing the intensity of ground shaking... | Read more >>
In Focus
TREQ Project Update
Hazard component outputs and publications

GEM together with project partners recently published several papers on seismic hazard assessment as well as a training manual for PSHA (probabilistic seismic hazard analysis). The 3-year project supported by USAID is nearing its completion. In the next weeks, all deliverables will be available on the TREQ project website. Click the button below for the current list of available outputs and publications...

TREQ publications
News Briefs
TREQ project Online OpenQuake engine training
More than 80 participants from around the world registered for the online training course which is being  held on May 6th, 13th, 20th and June 3rd 2022. The course is designed for an audience with a diverse background and expertise and covers the main concepts of earthquake risk assessment, along with the basic features of the OpenQuake Engine.

Comprehensive Multi hazard Risk Assessment in Malawi project
GEM will be working soon with a World Bank project led by Centro Internazionale in Monitoraggio Ambientale (CIMA, Italy) and co-partners Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) and British Geological Survey (BGS) to provide technical services to fill a gap in Malawi’s national level disaster risk (multi-hazard) risk assessment.

Palestine - preliminary multi-hazard risk map portal delivered 
GEM has completed a preliminary map portal for multi-hazard risk assessment of Palestine. The project, funded by Palestine’s Municipal Development and Lending Fund (MDLF), is being implemented together with the University of Palestine.

GEM commercial models presented at Reinsurance Association of America (RAA): Cat Risk Management 2022 event by Nasdaq
Nasdaq, a GEM distribution partner presented GEM’s commercial earthquake models for Colombia, South Africa and China at the RAA cat risk management event held in Orlando, Florida, USA from May 23rd - May 26th. This year’s Cat Risk Management 2022 discussed insights on how best to position companies and assist clients to stay ahead of a rapidly changing global risk environment.
OpenQuake Engine 3.14

The OQ 3.14 is the result of work involving around 200 pull requests. The major highlights of this version include the complete vectorisation of the hazardlib and performance optimisations for classical, event-based and disaggregation calculators.

To download version 3.14, visit:

Important note
Before upgrading to the new release, it is recommended to export previous outputs of interest, since exporting an output computed with an older version of the engine may result in an error. Moreover, it is generally not possible to run a risk calculation starting from a hazard computed with an older version.

Users that do not need to stay updated with the latest developments of the engine may remain with version 3.11, which is being supported as a Long-Term Support Release.
Publications from GEM, Partners and OQ users
Seismic loss dynamics in three Asian megacities using a macro-level approach based on socioeconomic exposure indicators
The authors, Gizem Mestav Sarica & Tso-Chien Pan of NTU and GEM Governing Board member, present a framework for the evaluation of spatio-temporal seismic loss dynamics where they propose a probabilistic macro-level loss estimation approach that is based on socioeconomic exposure indicators. The study aims to aid decision-makers in scrutinising the evolving exposure and possible consequent forthcoming seismic losses in rapidly urbanising megacities.
GEM in the News!
Do Earthquakes and Tectonic Plates Have a Two-Way Relationship?
An article by science writer Tim Hornyak published in presents the findings of a study that could change the fundamentals of quake models, on how the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey in 1999 changed the motion of the Anatolian plate. Richard Styron, Active Faults Specialist at GEM shares his thoughts on the findings and praises the researchers for their work on very clearly documenting  the velocities for plates as large as the Anatolian plate.

New Hazard Exposure Model for Africa
An article by Munyaradzi Makoni published in discusses how GEM’s new Africa Exposure model can be used as a tool for informed decision-making for development and building design standards in Africa.

RMS joins Global Earthquake Model Foundation
A press release written by Tony Downing on the partnership between RMS and GEM published by the Global Risk Manager. RMS joined GEM earlier this year as Private Governor with the aim to further enable insurers, reinsurers, financial services organisations, and the public sector with the most informed view of earthquake risk available today. GEM has also published an article about the partnership from the last newsletter. (

Opening of GNS Science’s Tokyo Office is Expected to Strengthen Partnership with NIED
GNS Science, a New Zealand research institute studying  earth systems including natural hazards, announced at an event held in Tokyo on April 21st that GNS Science's first overseas office in Tokyo has been established. The article mentions that the two organisations have had a long history of research exchanges on seismic hazard assessment through the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation, where they are both members of the Board.
Seismic Moment: From Rupture to Recovery
Join the discussion on cutting-edge science and ground-breaking technology in earthquake engineering with Helen Crowley, Laurentiu Danciu, Paolo Bazzurro, Carmine Galasso, Anastasios Sextos, Laurie Johnson and more.

July 14th, 2022 | 9:00 - 17:00 Lisbon Time Zone
International Symposium on Hazard, Risk and Recovery Modelling - Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Aveiro, Portugal
Nominations open for the EERI’s 2022 Shah Family Innovation Prize
Deadline: July 10, 2022 at 11:59pm Pacific Time

The selection process recognises a combination of past accomplishments and future potential, emphasising creative and innovative thinkers who have demonstrated at early stages in their careers the potential to make major contributions. The selection committee appreciates all nominations. We hope you consider nominating a deserving young professional for the 2022 Shah Family Innovation Prize!

Contact Helen Crowley (, Chair of EERI’s 2022 Shah Family Innovation Prize Selection Committee for additional information.
Award Description
Submit a nomination
Cities on Volcanoes Conference
June 12th - 17th, 2022
Heraklion, Crete 

GEM Governing Board Meeting
June 16th-17th, 2022
Pavia, Italy + Zoom

METIS Summer School on Seismic Hazard Analysis
June 20th - 23rd, 2022
University of Pavia, Italy 

COMET/GEM Seismic Hazard Workshop and OpenQuake Training
June 29th - July 1st, 2022
Earth Sciences Department, South Parks Road
University of Oxford, UK 

Around the Internet
A new earthquake warning system will prepare Canada for dangerous shaking
In March, Natural Resources Canada set up an earthquake-monitoring station at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in West Vancouver, B.C., the first station in what will become a national early earthquake warning system by 2024. The system uses the same software as the early-warning system located along the U.S. West Coast. It aims to reduce the number of injuries, the cost of damage and losses, and the impact to critical infrastructure operations.

Neural network model helps predict site-specific impacts of earthquakes
In disaster mitigation planning for future large earthquakes, seismic ground motion predictions are a crucial part of early warning systems. The way the ground moves depends on how the soil layers amplify the seismic waves (described in a mathematical site 'amplification factor'). However, geophysical explorations to understand soil conditions are costly, limiting characterisation of site amplification factors to date. Using data on microtremors in Japan, a neural network model can estimate site-specific responses to earthquakes based on subsurface soil conditions.

Q1 natural hazard losses pegged at $32 billion: Aon
Estimated economic losses from natural hazards totaled $32 billion during the first quarter, of which $14 billion was insured, according to a report Thursday from Aon PLC. The Asia Pacific region accounted for the largest portion of first-quarter economic losses, with more than $15 billion, followed by Europe with $7 billion and the United States at $6 billion.

Did a 3800-year-old Mw ~9.5 earthquake trigger major social disruption in the Atacama Desert?
Early inhabitants along the hyperarid coastal Atacama Desert in northern Chile developed resilience strategies over 12,000 years, allowing these communities to effectively adapt to this extreme environment, including the impact of giant earthquakes and tsunamis. Here, we provide geoarchaeological evidence revealing a major tsunamigenic earthquake that severely affected prehistoric hunter-gatherer-fisher communities ~3800 years ago, causing an exceptional social disruption reflected in contemporary changes in archaeological sites and triggering resilient strategies along these coasts.

ChEESE Develops Exascale-Compatible Geohazard Mitigation Services
After three and a half years of research, the European-funded Centre of Excellence for Exascale in Solid Earth (ChEESE) has succeeded in preparing simulation codes and applications for geohazard mitigation services that can be used to support the private and public sectors in decision-making related to earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis. The potential services, proven to run efficiently on present pre-exascale prototype supercomputers, were carried out as demonstrators in operational environments.

Urban growth modelling and social vulnerability assessment for a hazardous Kathmandu Valley
This study addresses this issue by investigating evolving spatial interactions between natural hazards, ever-increasing urban areas, and social vulnerability in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. The methodology considers: (1) the characterisation of flood hazard and liquefaction susceptibility using pre-existing global models; (2) the simulation of future urban built-up areas using the cellular-automata SLEUTH model; and (3) the assessment of social vulnerability, using a composite index tailored for the case-study area.

Verisk Estimates Insured Industry Losses for M7.3 Namie, Japan, Earthquake
According to Verisk Extreme Event Solutions (formerly AIR Worldwide), insured losses to properties from the March 16 M7.3 earthquake that struck offshore the island of Honshu, Japan, will be between JPY 240 billion (~USD 2 billion) and JPY 490 billion (~USD 4 billion). Of that, between JPY 50 billion (~USD 400 million) and JPY 100 billion (~USD 820 million) can be attributed to commercial and industrial properties. Early reports suggest that more than 580 buildings in Fukushima Prefecture and more than 570 buildings in Miyagi Prefecture were damaged.

Cascading rupture of a megathrust
Understanding variability in the size and location of large earthquakes along subduction margins is crucial for evaluating seismic and tsunami hazards. The researchers present a coseismic slip model for the 2021 M8.2 Chignik earthquake and investigate the relationship of this earthquake to previous major events in the Alaska Peninsula region and to interseismic coupling.

Satellites can measure nearly any hazard - let’s use them to adapt with equity
Satellite observations can and should be a critical asset in the development of policies aimed at averting serious damage to our home planet and protecting vulnerable communities from disproportionate harm. Satellites have revolutionised science in both sea-level rise and earthquakes, and fueled a new wave of research about what these hazards mean for our future.

After years of emergencies, Italy launches 'unprecedented' plan to protect churches against earthquake damage
Cathedrals, churches and basilicas across Italy are at risk of being razed by earthquakes that could strike at any moment. But the government is on a mission to protect some of the country’s most significant and vulnerable religious buildings from disastrous seismic shocks. A new national project backed with €250m from Italy’s multibillion-euro pot of EU Covid-19 recovery funding is unprecedented in Europe for its scale and reach, officials believe. However, they face a race against the clock to secure the funds needed to implement the plan.
Our mailing address is:
GEM Foundation
Via Ferrata 1
Pavia, PV 27100

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
update your preferences
unsubscribe from this list
Forward to a friend