European Seismological Commission


Article I. Purpose of the Commission

The European Seismological Commission (ESC) is a scientific organisation created in 1951 by the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior (IASPEI) and is a regional commission of IASPEI. Administrative and scientific decisions should be consistent with the general rules / decisions of IASPEI.

The ESC mission is to promote the science of Seismology within the scientific community of the European and Mediterranean countries (encompassing the area from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to the Ural Mountains and from the Arctic Ocean to northern Africa), by promoting research studies, to extend and enhance scientific co-operation and to train young scientists.

The following objectives are of particular interest:

a)   Facilitate exchange of ideas and personal meetings between scientists by means of the General Assembly of the ESC, workshops and seminars on special topics, and discussion forums on emerging issues.

b)   Encourage co-operation between individuals and organisations by establishing Working Groups (WGs) on seismological problems of common international interest, with emphasis on new research topics.

c)   Promote inter-disciplinary studies involving Seismology.

d)   Encourage co-operation with other European and non-European scientific and engineering communities.

e)  Organise, and encourage others to organise training courses in Earthquake and Engineering Seismology, especially for young scientists.

f)   Operate within the bylaws, regulations and recommendations of the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth´s Interior (IASPEI).

Any activity addressing the objectives expressed above can be defined as an 'ESC activity' provided that it is carried out under the auspices of the Commission, and it has been explicitly recognized and approved by the Executive Committee. The leader(s) of the activity must send a Summary Report to the Executive Committee when finished.

Article II. Membership

Membership in ESC is by country. Each country that adheres to IUGG and is situated within the region defined in Article I is a member and has the right to nominate a national representative to the ESC, referred to as a "Titular Member".

Titular Members form part of the ESC Council (see Article IV). Titular Members should be nominated by the national committee of IUGG. They are appointed for two successive administrative periods (see Article VIII) and may be re-appointed thereafter. If no candidate is nominated by the national committee, the Executive Committee may propose a candidate to the appropriate national organisation.

Titular Members are responsible for: a) The votes on behalf of their country; b) The dissemination of ESC information and announcements on a national basis. In the case of absence from a General Assembly, a Titular Member may delegate his duties to a compatriot present at the General Assembly or to a member of the Executive Committee. If a Titular Member fails to fulfil the duties described in Article II of the Bylaws, the ESC Executive Committee may approach the national committee to nominate a new member.

Article III. The General Assembly

A General Assembly is the time period from the Opening Plenary meeting through the Closing Plenary meeting. Scientific sessions and administrative meetings are scheduled during the General Assembly. Anyone interested is invited to take part in the General Assembly.

The ESC Council decides upon the location of the next General Assembly. If no decision is reached by the Council, the choice of a place and date is left to the Executive Committee. The letters of convocation for a General Assembly shall be sent to all members of the Council at least three months before the date chosen. An extraordinary General Assembly must be called by the Executive Committee if requested by the President or by at least one third of all Titular Members. On the occasion for the General Assembly to take place during a joint ESC-EAEE conference (see Article X) the decision upon the location will be carried out by both ESC and EAEE Councils.

Article IV. The Council

The ruling body of the ESC is the Council, consisting of the Titular Members, and the Executive Committee.

The Council meets at least once during every General Assembly for elections. Before the Closing Plenary meeting, the Council shall decide on: 1. Date and place for the next General Assembly, based on invitations received; 2. Resolutions forwarded by the Resolutions Committee; 3. Other matters referred to the Council. All decisions are announced at the Closing Plenary.

Article V. The Executive Committee

The administrative body of the ESC is the Executive Committee, consisting of:

a)   Members elected by the Council at each General Assembly: the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary, and three additional Executive Committee members.

b)  Members by right: the immediate Past-President and a representative of the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI), delegated by IASPEI.

c)  The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), the European Association for Earthquake Engineering (EAEE), the Observatories and Research Facilities for European Seismology (ORFEUS), and the Asian Seismological Commission (ASC) can be represented in the Executive Committee by one delegate each, provided that ESC is also represented in their ruling bodies. They take part in the discussions, and shall have power of voting provided there is reciprocity.

The President, the Vice-President, the immediate Past-President, and the Secretary General shall all be from different country affiliation.

The President is eligible only for one administrative period. The President shall chair the Executive Committee and the Council, and act on behalf of the ESC in accordance with policies and procedures adopted by the General Assembly and the Executive Committee.

The Vice-President is eligible only for one administrative period. The Vice-President shall assure the smooth progress of the activities related to the organization of the next General Assembly, and shall assume the duties of the President when the President is unavailable.

The Secretary General shall conduct the correspondence, preserve the administrative archives, assist the President and the Vice-President on matters related to the ESC, and implement or monitor the implementation of the decisions of the Executive Committee.

No person may hold the Secretary General office for more than four consecutive administrative periods.

The Assistant Secretary shall assist the Secretary General on the ESC administrative duties, on the organization of the next General Assembly, and during the different administrative meetings that take place at the General Assembly.

No person may hold the Assistant Secretary office for more than four consecutive administrative periods.

The three additional Executive Committee members shall administratively supervise the activities of the Working Groups (see Article VII).

No person may hold an additional Executive Committee member office for more than two consecutive administrative periods.

The immediate Past-President is a member by right of the Executive Committee for one administrative period. The immediate Past-President shall be responsible of the improvement and expansion of the international activities and the impact of the ESC, including the collaboration with other scientific organizations.

The Executive Committee functions include:

·    To realise the goals and objectives of the ESC as specified in Article I, and act according to the ESC Bylaws,

·    To implement the decisions and policies established by the General Assembly,

·    To nominate the ESC representatives in other scientific organizations when needed,

·    To establish Working Groups that will contribute to the objectives and activities of the ESC,

·    To enhance the transparency of all ESC activities including, not yet limited to, reporting of its activities and those of the Working Groups,

·    To prepare the administrative agenda of the next General Assembly, and coordinate the scientific programme,

·    To prepare new proposals for modification of the Bylaws or internal regulations to be submitted to the Council for approval.

The Executive Committee meets at least once a year and during the General Assembly. The Executive Committee meeting requires at least 2/3 of the voting members to be present. The decisions shall be taken by a majority vote. In case of a tied vote, the President's vote is decisive.

Article VI. The Committees

  • Resolutions Committee: At the Opening Plenary meeting of each General Assembly, the President appoints a Resolutions Committee consisting of one member of the Executive Committee and at least two other members. All resolutions to be presented at the Council meeting for decision must be transmitted in writing to the Resolutions Committee not less than 24 hours before the said meeting. The Resolutions Committee is responsible for wording the resolutions to conform to the terminology of IASPEI and IUGG. The Committee shall post all resolutions and recommendations at least 12 hours before the Closing Plenary meeting.
  • Nominating Committee: The President appoints a Nominating Committee consisting of not more than four members. This committee must be approved by the Executive Committee at the first business meeting of each General Assembly. The Nominating Committee proposes nominees for positions in the Executive Committee. Members of the Nominating Committee are ineligible for membership in the Executive Committee. In addition to candidates nominated by the Nominating Committee, additional nominations for each office may be made from the floor at the Council meeting. A country cannot be represented by more than one person in the Nominating Committee.
  • Special Committees: The President, with the approval of the Executive Committee, may appoint special committees to propose solutions for specific administrative problems.

Candidates to be considered by the President when appointing the members for the Resolutions and Nominating Committees at each General Assembly will be selected both, from proposals by the Execitive Committee and from an Open Call to the ESC community (the ESC Council and the participants in the last General Assembly) to be posted on the ESC Web page before the relevant General Assembly.

Candidates to be considered by the Nominating Committee for proposing nominees for positions in the Executive Committee at each General Assembly will be selected both, from proposals by participants in the General Assembly and from an Open Call to the ESC community (the ESC Council and the participants in the past General Assembly) to be posted on the ESC Web page before the relevant General Assembly.

Article VII. The Working Groups

Working Groups are formed within the ESC to address particular scientific problems, and they are established by the Executive Committee following evaluation and endorsement of proposals.

The forming of a Working Group requires a written proposal to the Secretary General including:

a) A clear definition of the objectives to be achieved, i.e.: a title that clearly reflects the issue, a short description and the expected duration;

b) The list of participants that have agreed to be involved;

c) The nomination of a Chairperson that would coordinate the Working Group activities and be responsible for reporting to the Executive Committee;

Working Groups are encouraged to include not less than four participants from at least two different countries.

Working Groups are encouraged to conclude their activities within four years. If needed, the Working Group could extend its activity beyond the four-year time limit: A written extension proposal to the Secretary General is required, and it has to be approved by the Executive Committee.

The Working Group Chairperson shall be responsible for reporting its progress to the Executive Committee at least once a year, and creating and maintaining a Web site that describes the activities and the achievements of the Working Group.

The Working Group will be dissolved when either:

1.      The objectives are fulfilled,

2.      The majority of its participants so decide,

3.      The four-year term, and any approved extension have been completed,

4.      Failing to report according to the requirements of the Executive Committee.

Article VIII. Administrative Period

The administrative period is normally two years, and comprises the time interval between the Closing Plenary meetings of two consecutive General Assemblies.

Article IX. Elections

The Council elects the Executive Committee and confirms the Working Groups and the Titular Members.

The President appoints a chairperson and two tellers to carry out the elections.

A person cannot have more than one vote by reason of his different offices. Vote by proxy is allowed. The election of the President, the Vice-President, and the other members of the Executive Committee is carried out successively. In general, voting is by secret ballot. In cases of a foreseen unanimity, voting may be executed by show of hands.

All decisions by the Council will be made by a simple majority of the eligible votes cast. In case of a tied vote, the President's vote is decisive. For cases other than election of the Executive Committee, voting by secret ballot is performed only if requested by at least one member.

The members of the Council may cast their vote in writing by mail.

During the interval between the General Assemblies, with the decision of the Executive Committee, when necessary, mail balloting may be conducted to obtain a Council decision. In such cases, the approval requires 2/3 of all eligible votes.

Article X. ESC-EAEE Cooperation

The close cooperation between the ESC and the European Association for Earthquake Engineering (EAEE) communities includes the following aspects:

 a) Joint ESC-EAEE conferences organised at least once every eight years (see Article III)

b) Joint Executive Committee meetings once every two years.

c) Participation of the EAEE in the co-organization of the Young Seismologists' Training Courses (YSTC) when appropriate.

d) Joint ESC-EAEE sessions on specific topics of common interest in their respective General Assemblies. ESC will organize them in the years when only its General Assembly is taking place and EAEE in the years when both are scheduled independently.

Article XI. Amendment of Bylaws

Drafts of proposed amendments must be made available to all members of the Council prior to the General Assembly. They must be approved by two thirds of all members of the Council with voting power. If a quorum of two thirds of all members of the Council is not obtained, the same amendments may be approved by two thirds of the eligible votes held by the members present during the next General Assembly.

Article XII. Interpretation of the Bylaws

The English text is the guide for the interpretation of the Bylaws. In case of any ambiguity, the statutes of IASPEI will serve as a reference.

Article XIII. Approval of the Bylaws

The original text of these Bylaws has been approved by the ESC Council at the General Assembly on 26 August 1988 (Sofia), with amendments approved at the General Assemblies on 12 September 1996 (Reykjavik), 7 September 2006 (Geneva), 5 September 2010 (Montpellier) and 29 August 2014 (Istanbul).



ESC/SSA Travel Grant to attend the 2024 SSA Annual Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska

Apply for the ESC/SSA travel grant by the deadline of 30 November 2023! Seismologists from any member state of the ESC are eligble to apply. We encourage in particular students and early-career researchers to consider applying. More information can be found here.

From the ESC Working Groups:

Visit the website of the WG Preservation, valorisation and analysis of seismological legacy data

Visit the website of the WG Harmonizing Internet Macroseismology in Europe 

Contribute to the Portal of the ESC WG on Communication here

Get to know the website of the FAULT2SHA Working Group and find out forthcoming activities! The WG promotes a new initiative, open to all researchers interested in contributing to discussions on topics that could improve the assessment of seismic hazard.


Find out about the Young Seismologist Training Course here.


What were the past General Assemblies of the ESC like? Find out! Interesting documentation has been made easily accessible.

This list summarizes the files.


Sadly we announce the loss of esteemed and beloved colleagues and friends:

Older obituaries can be found here.