BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Engineering Seismological Hazard Assessment

Engineering Seismological Hazard Assessment

The Seismic Hazard Unit deals with all questions of seismic hazard and the determination of seismic loads in case of natural and induced seismicity.

The work is focused on the elaboration of the foundations of seismic hazard assessement which are the catalogues with the historical events, the systematic compilation of paleoseismic evidence, the derivation of seimotectonic regions and ground motion prediction models which describe the attenuation of seismic motion from the source to the receivers (sites). These foundations are the essential input data for the methods of seismic hazard assessment for the region of Germany and adjacent areas. 

The development and proof of measurements and evaluation methods is conducted to improve the results for seismic microzonation which is a basis for the consideration of the site effect. The site effect often leads to significant amplification and elongation of seismic motion directly beneath the sites. Especially passive seismic single station and array measurements are used for this purpose.

Probabilistic methods are developed in the course of a research programme lasting from 2010 to 2017 for induced seismicity associated with the geothermal exploitation of deep geothermal wells (MAGS1 and MAGS2).

In the final repository for radioactive waste Morsleben (ERAM) acoustic emission equipment is looked after to monitor and evaluate the geomechanical situation (continuous and automatic longterm-monitoring). Using networks of around 90 piezoacoustic sensors microcrack processes around the cavities can be observed.

Seismic hazard analyses are conducted for nuclear power plants, underground repositories for radioactive waste and other large industrial facilities. Clients are the Federal Ministries of Germany like BMWi, BMUB and BMZ, the licensing institutions of the German Federal States, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna)  as well as private companies which often ask for details regarding seismic hazard somewhere in the world. The members of the Seismic Hazard Unit work in several expert groups which give advice to public organizations and create rules for achieving safety regarding seismic hazard like the Working Groups Seismology and Induced Seismicity of the German Council for Research regarding Solid Earth (Forschungskollegium der festen Erde, FKPE), the Nuclear Safety Board of Germany (Kerntechnischer Ausschuss,KTA), the DIN Institute (for updates of official rule called DIN 4149 dealing with safe building  in German earthquake  regions) and for the German Society of Earthquake Engineers and Construction Dynamics.

For more information see:

Following project contributions are provided:


Hon.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Spies
Phone: +49 (0)511-643-2688

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