World map of tectonic stresses


Equatorial scale: 1:46 000 000
Published in April 2007
1 sheet: 120 x 54 cm
Supplied with a CD containing the database and the digital version of the map
CCGM-CGMW / Heidelberg Academy of Sc. and Humanities 2007
Authors: O. Heidbach, K. Fuchs, B. Müller, J. Reinecker, B. Sperner,
M. Tingay & F. Wenzel

Availability: In stock

Secure payment guaranteed


The World Stress Map is a global compilation of information on current tectonic stress fields in the Earth's crust. It is an international collaborative project involving universities, industry and government organisations with the aim of understanding the sources of stress within the Earth's crust.

The project started in 1986 under the auspices of the International Lithospheric Programme under the leadership of Mary Lou Zoback. Since 1995, the WSM has been one of the research projects of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, based at the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany.
The map is accompanied by a WSM CD-ROM containing 13,853 data sets from a wide range of stress indicators, ranging from surface to depth, including: focal mechanisms, borehole deformations, drilling-induced fractures, hydraulic fracturing, stress release measurements and neotectonic (Quaternary) indicators. In order to bring together stress data from different sources into a common database, it was necessary to set up classification standards for all stress indicators. This classification ensures the reliability and comparability of the collected data at the global level.

Thus, each stress data was graded on a quality scale from A to E, with A being the maximum grade. Quality A data indicates that the maximum horizontal stress orientation (SH) is accurate to within ±15°; for quality B data it is within ±20°; for quality C data it is within ±25° and for quality D data it is within ±40°. Grade E corresponds to insufficient data or too sparse stress information.

More than 10,500 quality A to C data sets are contained in the 2005 version of the database.
The WSM database is a prime source for scientists and engineers in universities and industry. This information is very useful for the understanding of geodynamic processes, for the assessment of seismic hazards and tunnel stability, and also for the improvement of hydrocarbon production, the safety of subsurface waste repositories and greenhouse gases, as well as for geothermal energy production.

For more information, it is highly recommended to visit This WSM site also contains regional stress maps, software, instructions for stress interpretation, and a quick "Create a Stress Map Online" (CASMO) interface linked to a database that allows users to order online high quality graphic stress maps to their own specifications, and receive them by email almost simultaneously.

To visualise the WSM data, the orientation of the maximum horizontal compressional stresses is shown in the stress maps. The data selected for the World Tectonic Stress Maps are from the 2005 version which includes data for depths between 0-40 km and quality A to C, with the exception of focal mechanism data classified in the database as Possible Plate Boundary (PBE) or 200 km away from ocean accretionary axes.

Additional information

en_GBEnglish (UK)
Scroll to Top