"A Basic European Earthquake Catalogue and a Database
for the evaluation of long-term seismicity and seismic hazard" (BEECD)
(an Environment/II EC project - 95/02-97/12)
The main goal of the project BEECD was to compile a homogeneous,
parametric Earthquake Catalogue and a Database of
primary data, to serve as a tool for understanding the long-term seismicity
and a reliable input for seismic hazard assessment.
This goal was intended to be accomplished by first retrieving, evaluating
and improving the supporting primary data and then assessing a new set
of parameters for as many earthquakes as possible, according to uniform
procedures. This means that BEECD intended to avoid two procedures which
are currently used, though they are very unsatisfactory:
The main tasks of the project were (see the flow-chart below):
to make "corrections" to parametric catalogues "jumping" from one to another,
without consulting the supporting primary data;
to modify parametric catalogues, or working files, just altering some entries
as soon as "new" evidence is available, without following standard and
well reported procedures.
selection of input earthquake catalogues and compilation of a comprehensive
evaluation of the supporting data sets
investigation for improving the supporting data sets
organisation of the archive of the supporting data
implementation of the procedures for the determination of earthquake parameters
and compilation of the parametric European catalogue.
Flow-chart of the project.
As the compilation of a complete European earthquake catalogue might
involve the analysis of several tens of thousands of entries, it was meant
that the project would mostly concentrate on damaging earthquakes
and, among them, on a basic set of strong earthquakes essential
for hazard assessment; that is, the largest earthquakes with respect to
the seismicity of each area.
By European it was meant the territories of the countries belonging
to EC and neighbouring areas, west of 31° East. Actually, for the assessment
of seismic hazard of Europe it is necessary to take into consideration
also the seismic sources which lie outside EC and can affect its territory.
Therefore, the investigation had to cover also large earthquakes, the epicentral
areas of which do not fall within EC frontiers but which have significantly
affected the EC countries.
By long-term it was meant as far back as data allow. The data
potential for the Middle Ages and before is not uniform throughout Europe:
therefore, a comprehensive review of this time-window would have required
heavy historical investigation, was likely to be extremely time-consuming,
and to produce a badly incomplete set of data. On the other hand, the time-window
of the XX century presents special problems due to the combination of macroseismic and instrumental data; as another research was in progress on this topic (e.g. GSHAP), only limited efforts were devoted to it. The final choice
was therefore the time-window 1400-1899.
The goals of the project and the single tasks were focused on the occasion of two general meetings (Milano, November 1995 and April 1997) and ten regional/local ones of the project. Partners also met during the ESC General Assembly of Reykiavik (1996) and Tel Aviv (1998).
Because of the necessity of investigating an area larger than the countries
to which the partners belonged, the collaboration of other European institutions
was sought, with good results.
Partial output of the project were presented at the EC review meeting
(Brussels, May 1996) and at international conferences. The material (papers
and reports) issued from the project is presented in the relevant Annex.
The main results and deliverables of the project are:
Most of the material mentioned above is on the way of being made available
to public on the server "Emidius" at the address http://emidius.irrs.mi.cnr.it/BEECD.
the qualified BEECD working file 1400-1899 (WF): a file where
the main European parametric earthquake catalogues, frozen as they were
in the most recent public version, are compiled together according to a
standard format. In this file the supporting data sets (roots) have been
qualified by means of an ad hoc classification tool (root class), developed
in the frame of the project and then divided into three levels (acceptable,
average, low). The extension of the WF to the time-windows before 1400
and after 1900 was also initiated;
the inventory, qualification and formatting of more than 1000 roots
of higher root class with respect to the corresponding ones, not fully
used, yet, for upgrading the national catalogues;
more than 600 earthquake studies, devoted to increase the
quality of the supporting data sets for allowing better parameters determination.
This research allowed the identification of some tens of so far unknown
a file of about 150 fake quakes, that is, a file of entries
which were inserted in the current PEC on the basis of the conclusions
of previous studies (in general earthquake compilations) which were proved
inconsistent by recent, reliable historical investigation;
the start of the construction of the European Earthquake Roots Database
- including the European intensity database - with special reference to
a basic set of 383 strong earthquakes, selected among
the largest earthquakes with respect to 4 European sub-areas;
a survey of the procedures of earthquake parameters determination
used by the current catalogues and/or proposed more recently, including
some tests and proposals toward uniform procedures;
a simple, robust and standard procedure for implementing hereafter
the data set and the related parametric earthquake catalogue;
the application of the procedure to start the compilation of the parametric
European Catalogue of Damaging Earthquakes 1400-1899 (EuCaDE, parametric
catalogue of the events above the damage threshold, Io/Ix >= 5/6,
M >= 4.0).
In the frame of the project also the two volumes (Stucchi, 1993; Albini
and Moroni, 1994), which represent the output of the previous, precursor
EC project "Review of Historical Seismicity in Europe" (RHISE), have been
made available on the same server (Rubbia Rinaldi, 1996) at the address
As this report shows, the project achieved many results. However, as
BEECD was firstly devoted to evaluate and make available the existing material,
and next to perform investigation aiming to fill "holes" of knowledge,
in order to avoid effort duplications, most results are not worth to be
published on their own but rather only in a more comprehensive frame.
Therefore, it has been planned to publish, as a joint output of BEECD
and other initiatives, the following items:
the "European Catalogue of Strong Earthquake (EuCaSE)", referring
to the above mentioned 383 strong events and earthquakes, and may be more
(CD ROM and/or web site);
the reports of more than 500 earthquake investigation performed
in the frame of BEECD (BEECD new roots), besides the 83 included in the
previous item (CD ROM and/or web site);
the final version of the parametric "European Catalogue of Damaging
Earthquakes (EuCaDE) 1400-1899", completed according to the described
procedure and, possibly, comparing the BEECD data set with the GSHAP files.