The World Stress Map (WSM) is a global compilation of information on the crustal present-day stress field maintained since 2009 at the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences within Section 2.6 Seismic Hazard and Risk Dynamics. It is a collaborative project between academia and industry that aims to characterize the crustal stress pattern and to understand the stress sources. The WSM commenced in 1986 as a project of the International Lithosphere Program (ILP) under the leadership of Mary-Lou Zoback. From 1995-2008 it was a project of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities headed by Karl Fuchs and Friedemann Wenzel. Since 2012 the WSM is a member of the ICSU World Data System.
All stress information is analysed and compiled in a standardized format and quality-ranked for reliability and comparability on a global scale. The latest WSM database release 2016 contains 42,870 data records within the upper 40 km of the Earth’s crust. The WSM is an open-access public database and is used by various academic and industrial institutions working in a wide range of Earth science disciplines such as geodynamics, hazard assessment, hydrocarbon exploitations and engineering. The main operational areas are
- Reservoir characterization and management
- Stability of mines, tunnel, boreholes and waste disposal sites
- Calibration of geomechanical-numerical models
- 4D Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical (THM) simulations
- Hazard assessment e.g. by means of fault-slip tendency and fracture potential analysis