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Global Earthquake Casualties due to Secondary Effects: A Quantitative Analysis for Improving PAGER Losses

Natural Hazards

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DOI: 10.1007/s11069-009-9372-5

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Abstract

This study presents a quantitative and geospatial description of global losses due to earthquake-induced secondary effects, including landslide, liquefaction, tsunami, and fire for events during the past 40 years. These processes are of great importance to the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) system, which is currently being developed to deliver rapid earthquake impact and loss assessments following large/significant global earthquakes. An important question is how dominant are losses due to secondary effects (and under what conditions, and in which regions)? Thus, which of these effects should receive higher priority research efforts in order to enhance PAGER’s overall assessment of earthquakes losses and alerting for the likelihood of secondary impacts? We find that while 21.5% of fatal earthquakes have deaths due to secondary (non-shaking) causes, only rarely are secondary effects the main cause of fatalities. The recent 2004 Great Sumatra–Andaman Islands earthquake is a notable exception, with extraordinary losses due to tsunami. The potential for secondary hazards varies greatly, and systematically, due to regional geologic and geomorphic conditions. Based on our findings, we have built country-specific disclaimers for PAGER that address potential for each hazard (Earle et al., Proceedings of the 14th World Conference of the Earthquake Engineering, Beijing, China, 2008). We will now focus on ways to model casualties from secondary effects based on their relative importance as well as their general predictability.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Global Earthquake Casualties due to Secondary Effects: A Quantitative Analysis for Improving PAGER Losses
Series title:
Natural Hazards
DOI:
10.1007/s11069-009-9372-5
Volume
52
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Contributing office(s):
Geologic Hazards Science Center
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Natural Hazards
First page:
319
Last page:
328
Country:
United States