North-Central Section - 39th Annual Meeting (May 19–20, 2005)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 1:20 PM-5:20 PM


CRAIG, Brian J., Earth Science, Univ of Northern Iowa, 2616 College, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 and DE NAULT, Kenneth J., Earth Science, Univ of Northern Iowa, Latham Hall 122, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0335,

Financial institutions must wisely assess risk before investing funds. Seismic risk in earthquake-prone areas should be taken into account, yet most financial institutions consider little or no earthquake risk information when evaluating property for investment.

The goal of this project is to provide a basic estimate of earthquake risk for areas in San Francisco County, California. A principal outcome has been the design and implementation of an interactive software platform in which financial institutions, like banks, can query earthquake risk for a particular address or land parcel location.

Two data types were collected: 1) spatial data, including GIS data layers of land parcels, liquefaction areas, and landslide zones, and 2) non-spatial data such as historic structure failure related to structure materials, stories, and usage. The two data types were merged into a Microsoft® Access database. User forms with query functions were created to generate reports from the database depending on user-specified fields. The report is the end product for the user and displays information on the estimated structure failure from an 8.0 magnitude earthquake and seismic risk rating. The seismic risk rating is a simple arithmetic scale that accounts for all the factors found in the database.

To operate this risk assessment tool, users need only to own a licensed copy of Microsoft® Access and consent to the user agreement contract, which advises that this tool should be used in conjunction with other financial risk factors and should not be considered an exhaustive assessment of natural hazard risk.