Theresearch topic "Mediterranean" summarizes information onearthquake, volcanoesandtsunami riskfromscientistsof theGerman Resaerch Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)andofthe GEOMARHelmholtzCentre for ocean research.


Earthquake events over the last 2,000 years have been evaluated to allow realis­tic hazard calculations to be made. Knowing where and in which magnitude earth­quakes strike in Europe is of interest for structural engineers and town planners. Read articlel about earthquake regions in Europe »

The latest stronger earthquake in the Mediterranien occur on January 25, 2016 occurred in the western Mediterranean in the area of the Alboran Sea in a shallow depth less than 10 kilometers. The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) announced a magnitude of 6.3 MW. More information on this event »


Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe. Since this millennium it erupted seven times. The last strong eruption was in December 2015. Strombolian activity at the summit and devastating lava flows threaten humans and infrastructure. Onshore the deformation of the volcano and the moving flank are monitored via satellite GPS and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar measurements (InSAR). Electromagnetic signals, as they are used by satellites however, do not penetrate water. “Up to now it was difficult to measure movements and deformation of the ground under water. We are using a sonar-based alternative which opens up new ways to investigate natural hazards in the ocean”, explains project leader Dr. Morelia Urlaub from GEOMAR. More information about the Etna »

Tsunami risk

Tsunami are predominantly triggered by strong submarine earthquakes. However, land­slides or a volcanic eruption may also be the reason for a tsunami, which is documented by historical data particularly for the Mediterranean region.

A landslide is often preceded by an earthquake, but this must not necessarily be very strong. However, as many tsunami early warning systems only switch to alarm mode when strong quakes occur, scientists of the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam are working on the rapid detection of landslides and the changes in sea level caused by them. More about the tsunami risk »

Tsunami events are documented in the Mediterranean. The last of these was in 2003, when the earth before the Algerian coast shook so strongly that waves up to two metres high caused a huge amount of property damage in the port of Palma de Mallorca. More about the tsunami hazard regions »

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