Seismic Hazard Assessment: a Challenge for Science and Geoethics

Nils-Axel Mörner(1*)

(1) Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden
(*) Corresponding author

DOI's assignment:
the author of the article can submit here a request for assignment of a DOI number to this resource!
Cost of the service: euros 10,00 (for a DOI)


When science itself cannot solve a problem, it is necessary to combine available data with philosophy and geoethics. Storage of high-level nuclear waste calls for an absolute isolation of the waste from the biosphere of at least 100,000 years. To make meaningful seismic hazard assessments over such an immense time period is very hard, if at all possible. Seismology only covers a century. Paleoseismology in Sweden covers 13,000 years (with some additional records from around 30,000 BP). In this situation, we must restrict ourselves from making too optimistic assessments. It is here where geoethics, philosophy and common sense become vital for a balanced evaluation. As some sort of seismic hazard assessment, one may multiply the recorded paleoseismic hazard over the past 13,000 yr by ten. The absence of a clear scientific methodology of assessing the true seismic hazard over this long time-period must not be used to present careless statements. We must also evaluate who says what, and in what interest. The principles of geoethics call for a strict application of scientific facts, observational evidence and physical laws.
Copyright © 2016 Praise Worthy Prize - All rights reserved.


Seismic Hazard Assessment; Paleoseismics; Storage of Nuclear Waste; 100;000 Yrs Time Scale; Principles of Geoethics; Fennoscandia

Full Text:



N.-A. Mörner, Seismic hazard assessment: a challenge for science and geoethics, SENIX Conference – The role of social sciences in a low-carbon energy mix, Stockholm, June 13-15, 2016, Paper, uploaded on ResearchGate, June 13, 2016.

N.-A. Mörner, Patterns in seismology and paleoseismology, and their application in long-term hazard assessments. The Swedish case in view of nuclear waste handling, Pattern Recognition in Physics, vol. 1, 2013, pp. 75-89.

N.-A. Mörner, Geoethics: the principles of ethics in Natural Sciences, ResearchGate, November 10, 2015, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1953.4168

Independent Committee on Geoethics. Founding statement,

N.-A. Mörner, Paleoseismology: The application of multiple parameters in four case studies in Sweden, Quaternary International, vol. 242, 2011, pp. 65–75.

N.-A. Mörner, In absurdum: long-term predictions and nuclear waste handling, Engineering Geology, vol. 61, 2001, pp. 75–82.

N.-A. Mörner, Intense earthquakes and seismotectonics as a function of glacial isostasy, Tectonophysics, vol. 188, 1991, pp. 407-410.

N.-A. Mörner, Paleoseismicity of Sweden – a novel paradigm. A contribution to INQUA from its Sub-commission on Paleo-seismology, at the INQUA XVI Congress, Reno, Nevada, 2003. Printed by the P&G unit of Stockholm University, Sweden, 2003, 320 pp.

N.-A. Mörner, Late Holocene earthquake geology in Sweden. Geological Society of London, Special Publication, vol. 316, 2009, pp. 179–188.

N.-A. Mörner, Collapse, Kollaps, Romahdus (in English, Swedish, Finnish), P&G-print, Båstad, 2013, 72 pp.

D.L. Wells, K.J. Coppersmith, New empirical relations among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area and surface displacement, Bulletin Seismological Society of America, vol. 84, 1994, pp. 974-1002.

J. Lundquist, R. Lagerbäck, The Pärve Fault: A late-glacial fault in the Precambrian of Swedish Lapland, GFF, vol. 98, 1976, pp. 54-61.

R. Lagerbäck, Late Quaternary faulting and paleoseismicity in northern Sweden, with particular reference to the Lansjärv area, northeast Sweden, GFF, vol. 112, 1990, pp. 333-354.

J. Liskowski, The effects of Pleistoicene ice-sheet loading-deloading cycle on the bedrock structures of Poland, Folia Quaternaria, vol. 64, 1993, pp. 7-23.

N.-A. Mörner, Drainage varves, seismites and tsunamites in the Swedish varve chronology. GFF, vol. 135, 2013, pp. 308-315.

P. Galli, L. Ferreli, In L. Serva, D.B. Slemmons (eds), Perspectives in Paleoseismology, AEG Special Publications, vol. 6, 1995, pp. 35-48.

N.-A. Mörner, S. Dowson, Traces of tsunami events in off shore and on shore environments. Case studies from the Maldives, Scotland and Sweden, In N.-A. Mörner (ed), The Tsunami Threat: Research & Technology, InTech, 2011, pp. 371-388.

N.-A. Mörner, Tsunamis in Sweden: occurrence and characteristics, In M. Mokhtari (ed), Thsunami, InTech, 2016, pp. 115-133.

J. Lario, T. Bardaj, P.G. Silva, C. Zazo, J.L. Goy, Improving the coastal record of tsunamis in the ESI-07 scale: Tsunami Environmental Effects Scale (TEE-16 scale), Geologica Acta, vol. 14, 2016, pp. 179-193.

N.-A. Mörner, G. Sun, Paleoearthquake deformations recorded by magnetic variables, Earth Planetary Science Letters, vol. 267, 2008, pp. 495-502.

SKB (Svensk Kärnbränsle Säkerhet), Redovisning av säkerhet efter förslutning as slutförvaret för använt kärnbränsle, Huvudrapport från projekt SR-Site, Del I-III, 2011, Stockholm.

STUK, Disposal of nuclear waste, Guide STUK-YVL D.5-L4 (version 17.3.2011), Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK),, 2011.

BKS (svensk Kärnbränsle Säkerhet), Kärnbränslecykelns slutsteg, Använt kärnbränsle-KBS-3, Vol. II: Geology, 1983, pp. 1-90.

P. La Pointe, T. Cladouhos, N. Otters, S. Follin, Evaluation of the conservativeness of the methodology for estimating earthquake-induced movements of fractures intersecting canisters, SKB, TR-00-08, 2000.

J. McCalpin, Seismology – Post-glacial seismicity and Paleo-seismicity at Forsmark, SSM, Technical Note 2013:34, 51 pp.

K. Högdahl, Jordbävningar och jordbävningsrisker I Sverige, In Statliga Offentliga Utredingar, SUU 2016: 16, Kunskpsläget på kärnavfallsområdet 2016, Chapter 5, 2016, pp. 73-85.

N.-A. Mörner, Dry Rock Deposit: an alternative of handling the high-level nuclear waste. The DRD methos: a short presentation – en kort presentation (in English and Swedish), P&G-print, Båstad, 2013, 28 pp.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Please send any question about this web site to
Copyright © 2005-2021 Praise Worthy Prize