EU Testing Center / Details

The European situation

Testing of earthquake forecast models in Europe is specifically critical because of the serious seismic risk posed by earthquakes in Europe, and because controversy about earthquake prediction related research is strong in Europe. However, testing earthquake forecast models in Europe is also challenging due to the large number of seismic networks and the resulting lack of a homogeneous European earthquake catalog for testing and model development. While the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre operates a system for rapid determination of the European and Mediterranean earthquake epicenters and determines the principal parameters of major seismic events located within the European-Mediterranean region, it does not provide a homogenous magnitude for smaller earthquakes. However, smaller earthquakes are important input for most earthquake models. As a consequence, testing of earthquake likelihood models in Europe primarily takes place at the scale of national networks, which form testing regions. As the resources and expertise necessary for running a testing center are considerable the actual testing of models for European testing regions is conducted at only one testing center, located at ETH Zurich.

The set-up of the CSEP EU Testing Center

The figure below illustrates the set-up of the CSEP EU Testing Center. The Testing Center is located at the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich and is governed by a Board of Directors. The operational and administrative aspects of the CSEP EU Testing Center are regulated in by-laws. Testing regions that are interested to conduct scientific experiments on earthquake predictability at the CSEP EU Testing Center will develop a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Model developers are free to develop and implement models for any testing region. The Memorandum of Understanding covers:

  • The testing region, magnitude range and testing classes (i.e., the classes of forecasting periods to be considered and the duration of the test).
  • The requirements for submitting models, the rules of access to the models, to the forecasts and the testing results.
  • The rules on publication of results of the test.
  • The rules for entering new models into the test and for withdrawing models.
  • The authoritative data to be tested against and the access to these data.
  • The name of the representative of this testing region in the board of directors and the mechanism to elect a new representative if necessary.
  • Rules to disseminate results to national / international organizations in charge of further decision making processes.

The implementation of the CSEP EU Testing Center

The actual testing will be performed using the CSEP software suite, which was developed at the University of Southern California (USC) with significant participation of EU scientists that were funded by the EU project NERIES. The Testing Center software consists of a dispatcher unit, which carries out scheduled tests, earthquake catalog processing codes, and earthquake forecast evaluation codes. Testing runs cover generation of model forecasts, download of earthquake catalog data, pre-processing of catalog data, conducting N-, L-, R-, S-, and M-Tests (comparing observations with forecasts), storing and reporting the results. Testing results will be displayed on this web page at a later time.