Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geography (MS)

Degree Level





Thomas R. Paradise

Committee Member

Fiona Davidson

Second Committee Member

Geoboo Song


Social sciences, Applied sciences, Earthquakes, Hazards, Loss-estimation, Migration, Refugees, Syrian crisis


The influx of millions of Syrian refugees into Turkey has rapidly changed the population distribution along the Dead Sea Rift and East Anatolian Fault zones. In contrast to other countries in the Middle East where refugees are accommodated in camp environments, the majority of displaced individuals in Turkey are integrated into local cities, towns, and villages—placing stress on urban settings and increasing potential exposure to strong earthquake shaking. Yet, displaced populations are not traditionally captured in data sources used in earthquake risk analysis or loss estimations. Accordingly, this study presents a district-level analysis assessing the spatial overlap of earthquake hazards and refugee locations in southeastern Turkey, in hopes of determining how migration patterns are altering seismic risk in the region. Using migration estimates from the U.S. Humanitarian Information Unit, district-level population scenarios that combine official population statistics with camped and non-camped refugee population bounds were created. Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis was performed alongside these scenarios to map spatial variations in seismic risk between 2011 and 2015. Results show a relative southward increase of seismic risk for this period due to refugee migration. Additionally, earthquake fatalities were calculated using a semi-empirical loss estimation technique on five faults to determine degree of under-estimation resulting from forgoing migration data in loss modeling. It was found that refugee populations increase casualties by 11-12% using median population estimates, and upwards of 20% using high population estimates. These findings communicate the ongoing importance of placing environmental hazards in their appropriate regional context which unites physical, political, cultural, and socio-economic landscapes.