Prof. em. Dr. Friedemann Wenzel

Friedemann Wenzel

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Geophysikalisches Institut

Tertiary Education: HSC (Abitur) 1970, 1970 – 1979: Student of Geophysics at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. Topic of ‚Diploma‘ thesis: Methods for high resolution spectral analysis with applications of the Maximum Entropy Method to the 1970 Columbia earthquake.

Postgraduate education and degrees: 1985 Dissertation at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Karlsruhe; title of doctoral thesis: Synthetic seismograms in 2-dimensional media; Academic degree: Dr.rer.nat. 1990: ‚Habilitation‘ at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Karlsruhe; title of thesis: Born stack – towards a unified theory of reflection seismic data processing; Academic degree: Dr. habil.

Research interests between 1979 and 1994 focused on reflection seismic studies of the earth‘s continental crust and upper mantle, on novel methods for reflection seismic data processing, and numerical modelling of elastic wave propagation. As director at GFZ in Potsdam I initiated GFZ’s national instrumental program for digital geophysical (seismological and EM) field measurements. Since 1994 research interests focused on engineering seismology and geophysical hazards and risks. In the CEDIM context we delivered risk maps on German scale regarding winter storm, flood and earthquake risk to residential buildings. With RMSI I cooperated on Romanian earthquake hazard and risk. In European Projects (FP6, FP7) I deal with socio-economic aspects of risk, dissemination of research results to communities and integration in DRM. The work within the ‘Earthquake and Megacities Initiative (EMI)’ includes the deveoplent of DRM for large urban areas with applcations in Istanbul, Kathmandu, Manila, and Mumbai. In this case I serve as advisory board member and currently as trustee of EMI. More recently we established cooperation with insurance companies assessing their portfolios and risks.

Previous Appointments

1979 – 1980: Research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, New York

1980 – 1985: Wissenschaftlicher Assistent (full-time research assistant) at the Geophysical Institute Karlsruhe

1980 – 1987: Wissenschaftlicher Angestellter (research scientist) at the Geophysical Institute Karlsruhe

1988 – 1990: Hochschulassistent (C1) (Associate Professor) at the Geophysical Institute Karlsruhe

1990 – 1992: Principal Research Scientist for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Division of Exploration Geoscience, Sydney, and Fellow at School of Earth Sciences of Macquarie University, Sydney.

1992 – 1994: Director of the department ‚Structure of the Earth‘ at GeoForschungs Zentrum Potsdam, and Professor of Geophysics at Potsdam University.

1994 bis 2016: Professor at the Geophysical Institute, Karlsruhe University

Since 2016: Prof. emeritus

Responsibilities, awards and memberships

Since 2006 coordinator of the University Center of Excellence CEDIM (Center for Disaster Mangement and Risk Reudction Technology)

From 1996 to 2006 coordinator of the Collaborative Research Center (Sonderforschungsbereich) 461: ‘Strong Earthquakes – A Challenge for Geosciences and Civil Engineering’ at Karlsruhe University

Between 1996 and 2001 Editor in Chief of TECTONOPHYSICS; since 1998 co-leader (jointly with Dr. Fouad Bendimerad, U.S.) of the ‘Earthquake and Megacities Initiative’ operating under the umbrella of UNESCO and ICSU

Between 1999 and 2001 member of the European Union of Geoscíences Council

Between 2000 and 2004 vice-chairman of the German Committee for Disaster Reduction and chairman of its Scientific Board

Since 2002 member of the Heidelberg Academy of Science and Humanities; 2003 professor Honoris Causa of Bucharest University

Since 2006 member of the Academia Europaea. Member of various professional societies: Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft (DGG), American Geophysical Union (AGU), Seismological Society of America (SSA), German Society of Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics (DGEB), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)

Ausgewählte Publikationen

Refereed journal articles

  • Böse. M., Ionescu, C. & Wenzel, F.: Earthquake early warning for Bucharest, Romania: Novel and revised scaling relations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, Doi: 10.1029/2007GL02396, 2007.
  • Wenzel, F. & Marmureanu, G.: Rapid earthquake information for Bucharest. Pure & Applied Geophysics,, 2007.
  • Oth, A., Wenzel, F. & Radulian, M.: Source parameters of intermediate-depth Vrancea (Romania) earthquakes from empirical Green’s functions modeling. Tectonophysics, 438, 33-56, 2007
  • Barth, A., Wenzel, F. & Giardini, D.: Frequency sensitive moment tensor inversion for light to moderate magnitude earthquakes in eastern Africa. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, LI5302, Doi: 1029/20007GL030359, 2007.
  • Wenzel, F., Bendimerad, F. & Sinha, R.: Megacities – megarisks. Nat. Hazards, 42, 481-491, 2007.
  • Sokolov V, Bonjer K.-P., Wenzel F., Grecu B., and M. Radulian “Ground-motion prediction equations for the intermediate depth Vrancea (Romania) earthquakes” Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering (2008) 367-388 (DOI:10.1007/s10518-008-9065-6)
  • Böse, M., Erdik, M., & Wenzel, F.: A New Approach to Earthquake Early Warning, in: Earthquake Early Warning Systems, In: Gaspari, P., Manfredi, G., Zschau, J. (eds.) Seismic Early Warning, Springer Verlag, Chapter 5, 65-83, ISDN-13 978-3-540-72240-3, 2007
  • Sokolov V, Wenzel F., and R. Mohindra “Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment for Romania and sensitivity analysis: a case of joint consideraton of intermediate-depth (Vrancea) and shallow (crustal) seismicity”, Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering (2009), 29, 364-381, doi:10.1016/j.soildyn.2008.04.004.
  • Sokolov V., Wenzel F. and Furumura T. “On Estimation of earthquake magnitude in Earthquake Early Warning systems”, Earth, Planets, Space (2009). 61(12), 1275–1285
  • Heidbach, O., Tingay, M. and Wenzel, F. (eds.): Frontiers in Stress Research. Tectonophysics, 482, 1-4, 1-236, 2010.
  • Mikat, J., Wen, Kuo-Liang, Sokolov, V., Chen, Chun-Te and Wenzel, F.: Simulating the Taipei basin response by numerical modeling of wave propagation. Bull. Earthquake Eng., DOI 10.1007/s10518-009-9171-0, 2010.
  • Miksat, J., Wen, K.-L., Sokolov, V., Chen, Ch.-T. and Wenzel, F.: Numerical Modeling of Ground Motions in the Taipei Basin – Basin and Source Effects”, Geophys. J. Int., 183, 1633-1647, 2011.
  • Sokolov V., Wenzel, F.: Influence of Spatial Correlation of Strong Ground-Motion on Uncertainty in Earthquake Loss Estimation, Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 40 (9), 993–1009, DOI: 10.1002/eqe.1074, 2011.
  • Daniell, J. E., Khazai, B., Wenzel, F. and Vervaeck, A.: The CATDAT damaging earthquakes database, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2235–2251, doi:10.5194/nhess-11-2235-2011, 2011.
  • Sokolov, V., Wenzel, F.: Seismic loss estimations for urban areas in Central Europe using scenario earthquakes: influence of within-earthquake variability and correlation. Subm. to Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Manuscript number: SOILDYN-D-13-00005, 2013.
  • Daniell, J.E., Goda, K. and Wenzel, F.: “Insurance and Re-insurance Models for Earthquake”, Chapter 29, eds. Michael Beer, Edoardo Patelli, Ioannis Kougioumtzoglou and Ivan Siu-Kui Au in “Encyclopaedia of Earthquake Engineering”, Springer, 2014.
  • Girard, T., Wenzel F., Khazai B., Kunz-Plapp T., Daniell J.E., Brink S.A.: Near-Real-Time Analysis of Publicly Communicated Disaster Response Information, International Journal of Disasters Risk Science 5: 165–175, doi 10.1007/s13753-014-0024-3, 2014.
  • Barth A., Ritter J.R.R., Wenzel F.: Spatial variations of earthquake occurrence and coseismic deformation in the Upper Rhine Graben, Central Europa, Tectonophysics, Vo. 651-652, pp 172-185, 2015.
  • Sokolov V., F. Wenzel F.: On the relation between point-wise and multiple-location probabilistic seismic hazard assessments, Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, Vol. 13, Issue 5, pp 1281-1301, 2015.
  • Goda K., Wenzel F. and De Risi R.: Empirical Assessment of Nonlinear Seismic Demand of Mainshock-Aftershock Ground Motion Sequences for Japanese Earthquakes. Front. Built Environ. 1:6. doi: 10.3389/fbuil.2015.00006, 2015.
  • Wenzel, F.: Induced seismicity using Dietrich’s Rate and State Theory and comparison to the Critical Pressure Theory, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2015, EGU, Energy Procedia 76 ( 2015 ) 282 – 290, 2015.
  • Tsang Hing-Ho, Wenzel, F.: Setting structural safety requirement for controlling earthquake mortality risk, Safety Science 86, pp 174-183, 2016.
  • Wagener Th., Goda K., Erdik M., Daniell J., and Wenzel F.: A Spatial Correlation Model of Peak Ground Acceleration and Response Spectra Based on Data of the Istanbul Earthquake Rapid Response and Early Warning System, Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 85, 166-178, 2016.
  • Heidbach O., Rajabi M., Cui X., Fuchs K., Müller B., Reinecker J., Reiter K., Tingay M., Wenzel F., Xie F., Ziegler M. O., Zoback M.-L., and Zoback M. D. 2018, The World Stress Map database release 2016: Crustal stress pattern across scales. Tectonophysics, 744,484-498.
  • Tsang H.-H., Daniell J. E., Wenzel F, Wilson J. L.: (2019). A Universal Approach for Evaluating Earthquake Safety Level Based on Societal Fatality Risk. Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, BEEE-D-18-00543R1,
  • Schäfer A. M., Wenzel F.: Global Megathrust Earthquake Hazard—Maximum Magnitude Assessment Using Multi-Variate Machine Learning, Frontiers in Earth Science 7, June 2019, DOI: 10.3389/feart.2019.00136, June 2019.
  • Sokolov, V.; and Wenzel, F., Areal exceedance of ground motion as a characteristic of multiple-site seismic hazard: Sensitivity analysis 2019, Soil dynamics and earthquake engineering, 126, Art.-Nr.: 105770. doi:10.1016/j.soildyn.2019.105770


  • Wenzel, F., Lungu, D. & Novak, O. (eds): Vrancea Earthquakes: Tectonics, Hazard and Risk Mitigation. Selected papers of the First International Workshop on Vrancea Earthquakes, Bucharest, November 1-4, 1997. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 374pp., 1999.
  • Wenzel, F. & Lungu, D.: Earthquake risk mitigation in Romania, Proceedings Volume, 2nd EuroConference on Global Change and Catastrophe Risk Management, Laxenburg, 2000, 2000/Papers/wenzel 708.pdf.
  • Lungu, D., Wenzel, F., Mouroux, P. & Tojo, I. (eds.): Earthquake Loss Estimation and Risk Reduction, Vol. 1, Independent Film, Bucharest, pp. 366, 2004.
  • Lungu, D., Wenzel, F., Mouroux, P. & Tojo, I. (eds.): Earthquake Loss Estimation and Risk Reduction, Vol. 2, Independent Film, Bucharest, pp. 421, 2004.
  • Wenzel, F. (ed.): Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences Volume 105: Perspectives in Modern Seismology, Springer Verlag Heidelberg, pp. 228, 2005
  • Wenzel, F., Zschau, J. (eds.): Early Warning for Geological Disasters – Scientific Methods and Current Practice; ISBN: 978-3-642-12232-3, Springer Berlin Heidelberg New York, 2013.

Letzte Änderung: 23.12.2019