Theses Doctoral

Ground Shaking and Socio-Economic Impacts of Earthquakes

Lackner, Stephanie

Earthquake impacts are widely studied across numerous disciplines. However, no systematic approach to quantify the "size" of an earthquake for impact research exists. This work provides the first comprehensive discussion and empirical study on how to measure the natural hazard of an earthquake for application in the social sciences. A data set consisting of all relevant global ground shaking from 1973 to 2015 combined with population exposure data and impact data is constructed based on 14,608 ShakeMaps. The empirical work shows that magnitude is not a good proxy for shaking and that measures of total earthquake size based on ground motion parameters perform better in explaining impacts than magnitude. In particular peak ground acceleration (PGA) performs well and is applied for two separate impact analyses. First, the relationship between earthquake ground shaking and public health related variables in California is investigated. Second, the global impact of earthquake ground shaking on long-run economic growth is studied. Furthermore, this work introduces the concept of a shaking center as well as a shaking centroid and provides the first global statistics on the area exposed to strong ground shaking for a given earthquake.


  • thumnail for Lackner_columbia_0054D_14020.pdf Lackner_columbia_0054D_14020.pdf application/pdf 6.77 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Sustainable Development
Thesis Advisors
Mutter, John Colin
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 31, 2017