Analysis of damage data of low-rise buildings subjected to a shallow Mw6.3 earthquake

Bjarni Bessason*, Jón Örvar Bjarnason, Ari Gudmundsson, Júlíus Sólnes, Scott Steedman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In May 2008 a shallow Mw6.3 earthquake struck South Iceland with an epicentre close to two small towns. Nearly 5000 low-rise residential buildings were affected. The recorded maximum PGA was 0.88g. A great deal of damage occurred, but there was no loss of life. In Iceland all buildings are registered in a detailed official database and insurance against natural disasters is obligatory. As the repair costs for every affected building had to be assessed for insurance purposes this provided an unusual opportunity to review structural performance across the whole population of buildings in the affected area. The estimated repair cost was classified in a number of subcategories covering structural and non-structural damage for five different residential building typologies. Study of these buildings showed that non-structural damage dominated the overall damage. The main monetary damage was cosmetic damage of partition walls and flooring. The structural systems performed quite well and no buildings collapsed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-101
Number of pages13
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Other keywords

  • Damage statistics
  • Fragility curves
  • Learning from earthquakes
  • Low-rise buildings
  • Non-structural damage
  • RC-buildings
  • Structural damage
  • Timber buildings
  • Vulnerability


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