The Seismic Risk module

The Seismic module is divided into two parts: seismology, and seismic vulnerability and risk.

The seismic hazard part is a general introduction to the methods of seismic hazard analysis. In this part of the module it is explained how the disciplines of seismology, geology, strong-motion geophysics, and earthquake engineering contribute to the evaluation of seismic hazard. It provides an overview of the input data and the tools in deterministic and probabilistic seismic hazard assessment, and discusses the related uncertainties. The lectures include the discussion related to Intensity and macroseismic scales, historical seismicity and earthquake catalogues, ground motion parameters used in earthquake engineering, definitions of the seismic source, magnitude scales, ground motion attenuation, site effects and microzonation, and the use of numerical tools to estimate ground motion parameters, both in a deterministic and probabilistic sense. Earthquake-induced effects such as liquefaction of soils, the triggering of landslides and tsunami generation are discussed as well. During the lectures, recent earthquakes and their impacts are presented together with the related hazard assessments.

The Seismic Vulnerability & Risk part of the module provides an overview of the different factors affecting the seismic vulnerability of buildings and provides insights into how seismic loss and risk models work. In the first part, general principles for a good seismic behavior of buildings and examples of what happens if these principles are not implemented will be discussed. Possibilities to make buildings safer will then be illustrated using examples ranging from engineered modern buildings to non-engineered traditional houses. Participants will put their knowledge into practice through the evaluation of the seismic vulnerability of existing buildings based on architectural plans and photographs as well as through a street survey of buildings during the dedicated field trip. In the second part, participants will learn about the components of earthquake loss and risk models and will use simplified models to exercise the concepts through simple computations. A discussion on seismic safety objectives of buildings codes as well as risk-based strategies to deal with existing buildings will close this part of the module.


Teaching Team

  • Donat Fäh (Seismology) - MODULE RESPONSIBLE
  • Blaise Duvernay (Vulnerability)


At the end of this module, participants will be able to:

  • understand seismic hazard products, the required input data and the related uncertainties.
  • appreciate the main principles of good practice in earthquake engineering,
  • comprehend the components of seismic loss and risk modeling
  • have an overview of the possibilities for seismic risk mitigation.
  • communicate with experts from the fields of seismology, earthquake engineering and seismic risk.

Associated field trip



 View over the city of Sion, located in the Rhone Valley (VS, Switzerland)


Related Links


Seismic Vulnerability