An empirical model for global earthquake fatality estimation

Earthquake Spectra
By:  and 



We analyzed mortality rates of earthquakes worldwide and developed a country/region-specific empirical model for earthquake fatality estimation within the U.S. Geological Survey's Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) system. The earthquake fatality rate is defined as total killed divided by total population exposed at specific shaking intensity level. The total fatalities for a given earthquake are estimated by multiplying the number of people exposed at each shaking intensity level by the fatality rates for that level and then summing them at all relevant shaking intensities. The fatality rate is expressed in terms of a two-parameter lognormal cumulative distribution function of shaking intensity. The parameters are obtained for each country or a region by minimizing the residual error in hindcasting the total shaking-related deaths from earthquakes recorded between 1973 and 2007. A new global regionalization scheme is used to combine the fatality data across different countries with similar vulnerability traits.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An empirical model for global earthquake fatality estimation
Series title Earthquake Spectra
DOI 10.1193/1.3480331
Volume 26
Issue 4
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Earthquake Engineering Research Inst.
Publisher location Oakland, CA
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 21 p.
First page 1017
Last page 1037