20-21 July, 2015, Old University Building, Valletta
Georisks in the Mediterranean and their mitigation - International Scientific Conference
“Georisks in the Mediterranean and their mitigation” was the theme of a 2-day international conference hosted by the University of Malta on the 20-21 July at Valletta Campus. Close to a hundred participants from 14 countries in Europe and North Africa came together to present their recent research and discuss a range of natural hazards, vulnerability and risk mitigation measures in, and beyond, the Mediterranean. The first day of the meeting was dedicated to the geology and geophysics of the Central Mediterranean, and the evaluation of hazard from earthquake, landslide and tsunami events, with a keynote presentation by Dr Damiano Pesaresi from OGS, Trieste about Regional seismic networks and Earthquake Early Warning systems. The second day focussed on the seismic vulnerability and risk assessment of buildings, urban areas and built heritage, as well as civil protection issues. A keynote presentation was delivered by Prof Andreas Kappos, of City University London, about fragility curves of masonry buildings. The whole conference was characterised by an interdisciplinary nature and the recognition that the understanding of, and damage mitigation from such events must necessarily rely on the close collaboration of the various disciplines.
The conference was an activity of the project SIMIT (Integrated Civil Protection System for the Italo-Maltese Cross-Border Area), a €2.5 million Strategic Project funded by the Italia-Malta 2007-2013 Operational Programme. It is led by the Regional Civil Protection Department of Sicily, while the other partners are the Universities of Palermo and Catania, the Civil Protection Department of Malta and the University of Malta. SIMIT is working towards the establishment of an integrated system which will facilitate the evaluation, forecasting, prevention and mitigation of losses from geological hazards affecting the Sicily Channel. This is being done through a virtual common operations room, comprising efficient networking and a dedicated portal for rapid exchange of information. It will also concentrate on the dissemination of a culture of risk awareness and emergency management procedures. The University of Malta is participating through the Department of Geosciences in the Faculty of Science and the Departments of Civil and Structural Engineering and of Construction and Property Management, Faculty of the Built Environment.
The conference was sponsored by JCR Imports Ltd, Solidbase Laboratory Ltd, Terracore, visitmalta.com, Mistral Service S.a.s. Publishers Messina, and was under the patronage of the Italian Embassy and Italian Cultural Institute Malta.
The proceedings of the conference were published in a dedicated book, which is also available online.
15–16 January 2014, Old University Building, Valletta
2nd SIMIT Partners’ Meeting
The second official partners’ meeting for the SIMIT project was held at the Old University building, St.Paul Street Valletta, on the15th and 16th January 2014. SIMIT (Integrated Civil Protection System for the Italo-Maltese Cross-Border Area) is a €2.5 million project funded by the Italia-Malta 2007-2013 Operational Programme, Strategic Projects (Priority Axis II - Environment, Energy and Risk Prevention). The Lead Partner is the Regional Civil Protection Department of Sicily, while the other four partners are the Universities of Palermo and Catania, the Civil Protection Department of Malta and the University of Malta. Within this project, the Seismic Monitoring and Research Unit, Physics Department, has already invested in new, state-of-the-art seismic recording equipment which will enhance its earthquake monitoring capability, real-time earthquake alerts, as well as geophysical investigations on the islands. The Construction and Management Unit and Management Unit, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering (Faculty for the Built Environment) will also benefit by the procurement of advanced software for the study of the behaviour of local buildings under earthquake shaking.
The second meeting was attended by over 30 participants from Sicily, Malta and from the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) Rome. On the second day, H.E8 the Italian ambassador, Dott. Giovanni de Vito paid a courtesy visit and addressed the participants. During the meeting, representatives of all partners involved in the first Work Package presented results about geology and geophysics of the study area, seismic hazard assessment, real-time seismic monitoring, networking and alert system, building typologies in the cross-border area and the methodologies to be used in assessing building seismic vulnerability in a number of test sites.
SIMIT will work towards the establishment of an integrated system which will facilitate the evaluation, forecasting, prevention and mitigation of losses from geological hazards affecting the Sicily Channel. This will be done through a virtual common operations room, comprising efficient networking and a dedicated portal for rapid exchange of information. It will also concentrate on the dissemination of a culture of risk awareness and emergency management procedures.
19-24 August 2012, Moscow
In 19 - 24 August, Dr. Pauline Galea participated in the European Seismolocal Commission (ESC) 2012,in Moscow, Russia. Below are the abstracts to contributions made:
Ambient Noise Measurements in a Zone Affected by Lateral Spreading Effects : The Case of Xemxija Bay Area, Malta [PDF]
Evidence of Directional Site Effects on Fault Zones: Observations from South-Eastern Sicily and Malta [PDF]
The 33rd General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission took place in Moscow, a city where a lot of global scientific and cultural values are accumulated.
The Assembly program included plenary and breakout meetings, symposia, a poster session and an exhibition of geophysical equipment, books and journals in the field of the Earth Sciences. The participants were also welcome to join various sightseeing activities in Moscow as well as trips to the northern capital of Russia, Saint-Petersburg, and the range of ancient cities known as the Golden Ring of Russia whose museums contain vast collections of historic treasures.
13-16 February 2012, Sliema
RELEMR Malta 2012
The UNESCO- RELEMR (Reducing Earthquake Losses in the Extended Mediterranean Region) XXXII International Workshop was held in Sliema, Malta, from the 13th to 16th February 2012.
The workshop was open to participants to make contributions, where within the sessions themselves RELEMR data exchange was undertaken as well as a discussion of results from past work performed. The sessions included paleoseismicity in the extended Mediterranean region and site effects. Methodologies for assessing school safety were also discussed. More information as well as abstracts of the proceedings are available here [PDF].
Some photos of the event as shown below:
14-17 November 2011, Trieste
Over the 14-17 of November 2011, Dr. Pauline Galea, Dr. Sebastiano D' Amico and Sharon Pace attended the 30th National GNGTS National Conference at the Stazione Marittima, Molo Bersaglieri - Trieste, Italy. The GNGTS conferences are organised by OGS, the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics. The conference is open to all participants involved in the Solid Earth Geophysics and it will deal with the following topics: Geodynamics, seismic soil characterisation and applied geophysics. The results from the GNGTS National Congress are the product of research undertaken by over 500 researchers from all disciplines. The resulting data, related discussions and interpretations represent the advancement of knowledge related to the Solid Earth and its evolution.
The following are extended abstracts submitted by the SMRU in collaboration with the University of Catania:
19th April 2011
The Japan earthquake of 11 March 2011: questions raised and lessons learnt
A public lecture organised by the Malta Japan Association in conjunction with the Department of Physics on Tuesday 19 April 2011 at 18:00hrs
Speaker: Dr Pauline Galea, Physics Department, University of Malta
The recent earthquake in Japan has generated worldwide interest for a number of reasons. Within the seismological community its importance lies in the fact that it was one of the largest events ever recorded instrumentally, as well as surpassing the largest earthquake statistically expected in that region. Notwithstanding its magnitude, the building damage and loss of life due solely to ground shaking was far below that generated by previous smaller earthquakes in less developed regions. Most casualties were related to the large tsunami generated. Within the political and environmental community, interest has been focused mainly on the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis, and a discussion about the siting of such plants and associated risks. These and other aspects were discussed.
The lecture was organised by the Malta Japan Association as part of its activities to collect funds to send to Japan via the Japan Red Cross.