Interest in small-to-medium magnitude earthquakes and their potential consequences has increased significantly in recent years, mostly due to the occurrence of some unusually damaging small events, the development of seismic risk assessment methodologies for existing building stock, and the recognition of the potential risk of induced seismicity. As part of a clear ongoing effort of the earthquake engineering community to develop knowledge on the risk posed by smaller events, a global database of earthquakes with moment magnitudes in the range from 4.0 to 5.5 for which damage and/or casualties have been reported has been compiled and is made publicly available. The two main purposes were to facilitate studies on the potential for earthquakes in this magnitude range to cause material damage and to carry out a statistical study to characterise the frequency with which earthquakes of this size cause damage and/or casualties (published separately). The present paper describes the data sources and process followed for the compilation of the database, while providing critical discussions on the challenges encountered and decisions made, which are of relevance for its interpretation and use. The geographic, temporal, and magnitude distributions of the 1958 earthquakes that make up the database are presented alongside the general statistics on damage and casualties, noting that these stem from a variety of sources of differing reliability. Despite its inherent limitations, we believe it is an important contribution to the understanding of the extent of the consequences that may arise from earthquakes in the magnitude range of study.
Nievas, C.I., Bommer, J.J., Crowley, H., van Elk, J., Ntinalexis, M., Sangirardi, M. (2020). A database of damaging small-to-medium magnitude earthquakes. JOURNAL OF SEISMOLOGY, 24(2), 263-292 [10.1007/s10950-019-09897-0].