Economic and Societal Challenges Imposed by Seismic Risk on the Built Environment Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers. Earthquakes kill approximately 20,000 persons per annum, with the peak annual loss rate in the last 120 years estimated at 280,000 humans. There are four broad categories of earthquake of interest, ones that have no impact on humans or the human infrastructure, Type I; ones that impact on the infrastructure, but not humans, Type II; ones that impact the infrastructure and humans, but do not cause fatalities, Type III; and ones that kill humans and severely damage infrastructure, Type IV. The fatal earthquake loss model for humans has been statistically demonstrated to be a generalized Poissonian distribution, which is a nonstationary process, governed by the complete set of Type IV earthquakes. This paper investigates some aspects of the impact of world's seismic risk on the rapidly increasing human population in terms of economic and societal risks. The research work is based on the concept of a systems approach to the current problem, addressing the specific issues of risk, reward, and insurance. New York is used as a model. The results demonstrate the potential and tragic losses, both human and economic, from a major earthquake event striking a major world city.

author list (cited authors)

  • Nichols, J. M., & Rodgers, S.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • August 2017