The World Stress Map Project - A Service for Earth System Management


The World Stress Map (WSM) is the global compilation of information on the present-day stress field of the Earth's crust with 21,750 stress data records in its current WSM database release 2008. It is a collaborative project between academia, industry and government that aims to characterize the stress patterns and to understand the stress sources.

The project commenced in 1986 as a part of the International Lithosphere Program (ILP). From 1995-2008, the WSM was a research project of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Since 2009 the project is maintained and further developed at the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. The WSM project is a task group of the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI), a constituent association of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG). The WSM is also one of the 13 global services within the Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical Data Analysis Services (FAGS) that was formed by the International Council for Science (ICSU). Recently, after the nomination by the IUGG nominated with the support of the ILP and the Commission for the Geological Map of the World (CGMW), the WSM project became in 2009 the co-label as an legacy item of the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE).



Who uses the WSM data?

The World Stress Map is used by various academic and industrial institutions working in a wide range of Earth science disciplines such as geodynamics, hydrocarbon exploitations and engineering. The main operational areas are:

  • Basin modelling
  • Geomechanical modelling
  • Reservoir characterization and management
  • Stability of mines, tunnels and boreholes
  • Fault-slip tendency
  • Seismic hazard assessment


How do I get the WSM data?

The World Stress Map is an open-access database. It can be downloaded through the Stress Data subsection which also provides details about the data, utilities for data plotting, stress maps for specific regions, and many other useful information.


For comments or suggestions please send an e-mail.
Last update, August 2009, maintenance of this page: Oliver Heidbach