AHEAD European Archive of Historical EArthquake DataEuropean Archive of Historical EArthquake Data

Elenco studiData sources
Elenco terremotiEarthquakes

Stucchi and Camassi, 1997

Stucchi M., Camassi R., 1997. Building up a parametric earthquake catalogue in Europe: the historical background. In: Giardini D. and Balassanian S. (eds.), Historical and prehistorical earthquakes in the Caucasus. Dordrecht, NATO ASI Series, 2 Environment, 28, 357-374.

link      PDF abstract only 


The compilation of comprehensive historical, parametric earthquake catalogues in areas with complex history, such as Caucasus, Europe, Middle East, etc., can lead to several, well known problems.

The obvious way to perform this task is to start from regional parametric catalogues. However, it must be taken into account that parametric catalogues are the top layers of a sedimentation process through which the original information (primary earthquake records) is forwarded, interpreted and manipulated from the time the earthquake took place to present.

Actually, unlike the case of geological records, this process is mostly mancontrolled; frequently it consists of a sequence of elaborations performed according to varied criteria, which can lead to varied historical pictures of the same event. Moreover, once again unlike geological records, historical records are not always preserved at the spot where they were first generated; they can travel with men, be altered so that they can be no longer referred exactly to an earthquake and a site, etc.

This situation can make life difficult to historians and seismologists aiming to trace back the seismic history of a place or a region; the recent literature provides many examples of "fake quakes" or events the size or location of which was affected by heavy errors [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

To publish earthquake compilations, that are lists of earthquake summaries in chronological order, derived from a great variety of sources, was always among the interest of erudites, the production reaching its peak soon after a catastrophic event. Later compilers usually reconsidered earliest works without care; the last wave took place in the 70's- 80's of this century, when most of the current national parametric catalogues were compiled on the basis of the most recent compilations only.

About the same period, the investigation of historical earthquake records entered a new phase which, joining historical criticism with scientific rigour, was called historical seismology; references can be found for instance in [8, 9, 10, 11]. Strange enough, historical seismology and parametric catalogues did not meet frequently since; the new good historical data was able to support better parameters for a few, may-be key earthquakes, but hardly affected the bulk of the catalogue entries for many countries. Here follow some examples.

Nell'archivio ci sono In the archive there are 2 terremoti provenienti da questo studio: earthquakes considered from this study:

molto grandiextra large
molto piccolivery small
non parametrizzatinot determined

Clicca sulla riga per individuare il terremoto sulla mappa o sulla lente per ottenere più informazioni.Click the row to highlight the earthquake on the map or the lens to obtain more information.

  DataDate    Area epicentraleEpicentral area    MDPs   Imax  EQ in
EQ in
Riferim. in
1551 03 26Tolmino  -  -      
1626 07 03Istria  -  -