Fault Activation and Earthquake Rupture (FEAR)

In brief

Despite intensive research, scientists cannot predict exactly when and where the next major earthquake will occur. Domenico Giardini, ETH Professor of Seismology and Geodynamics, Florian Amann of RWTH Aachen University, Stefan Wiemer, Director of the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich, and Massimo Cocco of the Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy, want to better understand the physics of earthquake processes with their ERC Synergy project "FEAR".

The rock laboratory "Bedretto Lab" in the Swiss Alps, built by ETH Zurich and the Werner Siemens Foundation, offers FEAR a unique research environment. The researchers will generate small earthquakes under controlled conditions at a depth of more than one kilometre and on a scale of ten to one hundred metres. They will measure a variety of earthquake parameters using a dense sensor network and then analyse them. The consortium hopes to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of earthquakes. The new findings will also be used to advance experiments on the safe use of geoenergy and to improve the predictability of earthquakes.


6 years

Project leaders

  • Prof. Domenico Giardini, Chair of Seismology & Geodynamics, ETH, Switzerland
  • Prof. Florian Amann, Chair of Engineering Geology, RWTH Aachen, Germany
  • Prof. Massimo Cocco, Exec. Dir. EPOS, Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
  • Prof. Stefan Wiemer, Director, Swiss Seismological Service, ETH, Switzerland