Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2235-2251, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
18 Aug 2011
The CATDAT damaging earthquakes database
J. E. Daniell1,2,3,4, B. Khazai2,3, F. Wenzel2,3, and A. Vervaeck4 1General Sir John Monash Scholar, The General Sir John Monash Foundation, Level 5, 30 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia
2Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM), Hertzstrasse 16, 76187, Karlsruhe, Germany
3Geophysical Institute, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Hertzstrasse 16, 76187, Karlsruhe, Germany
4SOS Earthquakes, web service, Cederstraat 21, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium
Abstract. The global CATDAT damaging earthquakes and secondary effects (tsunami, fire, landslides, liquefaction and fault rupture) database was developed to validate, remove discrepancies, and expand greatly upon existing global databases; and to better understand the trends in vulnerability, exposure, and possible future impacts of such historic earthquakes.

Lack of consistency and errors in other earthquake loss databases frequently cited and used in analyses was a major shortcoming in the view of the authors which needed to be improved upon.

Over 17 000 sources of information have been utilised, primarily in the last few years, to present data from over 12 200 damaging earthquakes historically, with over 7000 earthquakes since 1900 examined and validated before insertion into the database. Each validated earthquake includes seismological information, building damage, ranges of social losses to account for varying sources (deaths, injuries, homeless, and affected), and economic losses (direct, indirect, aid, and insured).

Globally, a slightly increasing trend in economic damage due to earthquakes is not consistent with the greatly increasing exposure. The 1923 Great Kanto ($214 billion USD damage; 2011 HNDECI-adjusted dollars) compared to the 2011 Tohoku (>$300 billion USD at time of writing), 2008 Sichuan and 1995 Kobe earthquakes show the increasing concern for economic loss in urban areas as the trend should be expected to increase. Many economic and social loss values not reported in existing databases have been collected. Historical GDP (Gross Domestic Product), exchange rate, wage information, population, HDI (Human Development Index), and insurance information have been collected globally to form comparisons.

This catalogue is the largest known cross-checked global historic damaging earthquake database and should have far-reaching consequences for earthquake loss estimation, socio-economic analysis, and the global reinsurance field.

Citation: Daniell, J. E., Khazai, B., Wenzel, F., and Vervaeck, A.: The CATDAT damaging earthquakes database, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2235-2251,, 2011.
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