ESF-COST High-Level Research Conference: Conference on Understanding Extreme Geohazards Scientists and experts in geohazards and disaster risk manage

ESF-COST High-Level Research Conference: Conference on Understanding Extreme Geohazards

Scientists and experts in geohazards and disaster risk management are invited to participate in the Conference on Understanding Extreme Geohazards.
This conference is organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) in partnership with the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) and with support from Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The conference will take place from 27 November to 2 December 2011 at Hotel Eden Roc, Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain.

Application Deadline: 18 September 2011
Grants for Young and Early Stage Researchers available.
Further information can be found below and at:

389 image

Lisbon, Portugal, during the earthquake of 1 November 1755

Understanding Extreme Geohazards: The Science of the Disaster Risk Management Cycle

27 November to 2 December 2011

Co-Chaired by:
Stuart M. Marsh - University of Nottingham, UK
Hans-Peter Plag - University of Nevada, Reno, US

Programme Committee:
Francesco Gaetani - GEO Secretariat
David Stevens - UNOOSA, UN-Spider
Robert Missotten - UNESCO
Howard Moore - ICSU, IRDR
Roger Urgeles Esclasans - Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Barcelona, ES
Bente Lilja Bye - Beyond Sustainability, NO

 Conference background

Extreme geohazards are the cause of major disasters. Most of the lives and property lost to disasters caused by geohazards are lost during extreme events. Although extreme geohazards are infrequent and restricted to certain geographical regions, their potential impact is huge and of global scale. For example, the 1755 Lisbon earthquake had a profound impact on European philosphy, culture and art. The global and long-lasting societal and economic impacts of the 2004 Sumatra and 2011 Japan earthquakes and associated tsunamis illustrate the scale of disasters caused by extreme geohazards, and they reminded us of the challenge of these extreme events for disaster risk management. At the same time, the recent major geohazards with global impacts are dwarfed by the largest geohazards that occurred during the last few millenniums. The potential impact on our civilization of any such rare event tends to be ignored in our planning of land use and infrastructure. Understanding the full spectrum of extreme geohazards is a prerequisite for disaster risk management and increased global resilience to these events. Reducing the disasters induced by the occurrence of extreme hazards at an acceptable economic cost requires a solid scientific understanding of the hazards. The recent disasters revealed gaps in the knowledge available for policy and decision making. It is therefore timely to review our understanding of extreme geohazards and to relate this knowledge to the full risk management cycle.

Confirmed invited speakers include

Roger Bilham - Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, US
Addressing the key challenges and improving science support for disaster reduction
Eric Calais - Purdue University, US
The case of Haiti
Donald Bruce Dingwell - Ludwig Maximilians Universität München, DE
Preparing for the unexpected: how safe are sleeping volcanoes?
Carl Bonnevie Harbitz - Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), NO
Tsunamis caused by submarine landslides
Alik Ismail-Zadeh - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, DE
Modeling and Predicting Extreme Seismic Events
Jörn Lauterjung - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, DE
Tsunami early warning
Brian G. McAdoo - Vassar College, US
Hidden risks in submarine landslides
Gero Michel - Willis Analytics, UK
Accounting for the unknown extremes: the case of reinsurances
Howard Moore - International Council for Science, FR
The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme of ICSU
Daniela Pantosti - Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, IT
Lessons learnt from paleoseismology
Rui Pinho - GEM Foundation, IT
Global Earthquake Model project
Seth Stein - Northwestern University, US
Bad Assumptions or Bad Luck: Why Natural Hazard Maps Fail and What To Do About It?
Dario Tedesco - University of Napoli 2, IT
Time-variable probabilities of volcano eruptions
Roger Urgeles Esclasans - Institute of Marine Sciences, ES
Controls / timing / characteristics of submarine landslides in the Mediterranean area
Rongjiang Wang - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, DE
Characterizing the earthquake: Slip inversion from GPS
Ivan G. Wong - URS Corporation, US
How Big, How Bad, How Often: Are Extreme Events Accounted for in Modern Seismic Hazard Analyses?

For the draft programme with a list of the sessions please visit the website.

 How to Participate

Attendance is possible only after successful application. Full conference programme and application form accessible from

A certain number of grants are available for students and early stage researchers to cover the conference fee and possibly part of the travel costs.

Closing date for applications: 18 September 2011

 Sponsor a Conference

This conference will be providing the opportunity for leading scientists and young researchers to meet for discussions on the most recent developments in their fields of research. We enable collaboration between international scientists from EU, first world and emerging countries which acts as a catalyst for creating new synergistic global contacts across disciplines.

We invite you to join us in harnessing this great potential, working towards an even more cohesive scientific force in Europe and beyond by contributing to our intense, dynamic and fun events.

If you are interested, please visit our Sponsor Resource Center at

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