Research for Emergency Aftershock Response (GCRF-REAR)

Earthquakes have resulted in over three-quarters of a million deaths already in this century, and economic losses of more than a quarter of a trillion US dollars since 1980, making them by far the most destructive of the natural hazards. Science cannot predict earthquakes and current research indicates that progress in identifying where near future earthquakes will happen (so-called earthquake hotspots) is likely to be slow.

However, the work of emergency services and humanitarian organisations deploying immediately after a destructive earthquake is always disrupted and endangered by aftershocks: a set of earthquakes which are focused in space and time, are well understood scientifically, and can be forecast probabilistically.

The Research for Emergency Aftershock Response (GCRF-REAR) project will scope out the requirements for operationalising the technical, scientific, logistical, reporting and interpretation requirements so that fully operational aftershock forecasts, coordinated and led by a team from the University of Edinburgh, can become a part of the international response to every major earthquake globally. The global revolution in mobile phone technology, and the formidable array of sensors they all contain, can play a vital part. Not only in contributing to the high resolution measurement of the size and location of the aftershocks, but they can also act as pathways for the two-way transfer of information and advice. Mobile smart phones are a potentially important way of standardising information and developing 'shock education' in best practice earthquake resilient behaviour (for example duck-and-cover) which has been shown to improve survival during earthquakes.


GCRF-REAR will run from 1 Nov 2016 to 31 Jul 2017.