The Institute of Geodynamics covers a wide range of research fields in the areas of Seismology, Physics of the Earth’s Interior and Applied Geophysics. The research in these areas aims not only in the production of new knowledge but also to support applications of economic, social and cultural interest as well as the support and improvement of the 24/7 earthquake and tsunami monitoring of the country.
Seismicity studies mainly of the Greek and surrounding areas focus in foreshock and aftershock sequences, in microseismicity and swarms, in seismicity patterns, in the induced seismicity and the earthquake triggering, in historical seismicity as well as in the determination of the seismic potential of active faults and their interaction. Research results in these fields is of particular social value in periods of seismic crisis when there are needs for seismicity evaluation in real time and for recommendations that should be directed to decision makers and to the general public.
For a better understanding of the properties of the earthquake source research activities in the Institute of Geodynamics include studies regarding focal mechanisms, seismic energy directivity, spectral characteristics and dynamic parameters of the earthquake rupture. The study of the crustal structure is based on the vertical change of seismic velocities. On the other hand, the imaging of the crust as well as of a large part of the mantle is approached by earthquake relocation and seismic tomography methods.
In the thematic area of seismotectonics the research interests in the Institute of Geodynamics include palaeoseismology, that is the study of pre-instrumental earthquakes with geological methods, the correlation of active faults with historical seismicity, the correlation between microseismicity and tectonic stress as well as the investigation for new rupture zones based on microseismicity.
It should be noted that the study of the crustal structure as well as of seismotectonics constitute research fields of particular importance since they conclude to the production of new knowledge supporting other research fields.
The expected seismic ground motions are approached by understanding the seismic wave propagation in the Earth’s interior, by the investigation of their attenuation laws as well as by the determination of synthetics for strong ground motion from both stochastic procedures and the use of functions.
The determination of seismic hazard includes research aiming to improve algorithms for the calculation of seismic displacements, velocities and accelerations, of the statistical parameters needed as well as of the harmonization of the different methodologies which are in use. This research field includes also microzonation studies and their standardization. Studies on the expected seismic ground motions, seismic hazard and microzonation constitute a wide range of applied seismology with social and economic significance. In fact, such studies contribute directly or indirectly to the improvement of the codes for building antiseismic constructions.
The earthquake prediction remains a hot research topic although internationally it is recognized that no standard prediction methods are still in place. In the Institute of Geodynamics research in this field includes seismicity patterns recognition, e.g. space-time changes of the seismic activity, e.g. foreshock activity, as well as the earthquake statistics based on the development of appropriate algorithms. In addition, other efforts are based on geophycials methods mainly magnetotellurics.
In the Mediterranean area tsunami waves do not occur so frequently as earthquakes do but when happen they are particularly disastrous. In the area of Greece, the tsunami rate is the highest in the European-Mediterranean region due to that the seismicity is also the highest. Tsunami research in the Institute of Geodynamics aims not only to improve scientific knowledge but also to develop the national center for tsunami warning, given that on 2010 the Greek government charged the institute with that additional duty including education, training and protection against tsunamis. Research activities include the compilation of tsunami catalogues and data bases, studies of the generation mechanisms and numerical simulations for the generation, propagation and inundation of tsunami waves, the investigation of palaeotsunamis with geological methods, the development of intensity scales and hazard determination as well as the development of local tsunami warning systems.
Research activities in the Institute of Geodynamics include also geological remote sensing for the study of active faults and landslides, particularly the neotectonic fault segmentation, the thermal teledection of the volcanic arc in the South Aegean Sea, the digital geomorphometry, InSAR techniques and applications to archaeological problems.
The field of Applied Geophysics includes research activities based on a variety of methodologies, mainly the reflection and refraction seismics, the seismic and electrical tomography, the georadar techniques, as well as magnetic, electromagnetic and gravity methods. The methods find important applications to the construction works, to archaeology as well as to several geological, mining and environmental studies.
The research activities in the Institute of Geodynamics is substantially supported by the national seismograph network and the network of portable seismographs, as well as by the networks of strong motion instruments and of GPS. Additional instrumental infrastructure includes geophysical equipment and networks which are under development, such as the tide-gauge and magnetometer networks.