You are on page 1of 16




ISSN:- 2349283X



Kumar Tiwari
Department of Civil Engineering,
Madan Mohan Malviya University of
Technology, Gorakhpur, India


Ali Jawaid, 3 Deepti Singh, &

Tarik Salman
Department of Civil Engineering,
Madan Mohan Malviya University of
Technology, Gorakhpur, India

ABSTRACT: Earthquake is most dangerous natural disaster because of is unpredictable nature. And
liquefaction is one of seismic event where soil can fail with devasting effect such as land sliding, lateral
spreading or large ground displacement. The phenomenon of liquefaction has been seen after Nigata
(1964) and Alaska (1964) earthquake. Earthquake reduces the strength and stiffness of soil by shaking
and other rapid loading.
Liquefaction is one of the most interesting but complex and controversial topics in earthquake
engineering. Its devastating effects in Alaska (USA) and Niigata (Japan) as a result of the 1964 earthquake
of magnitudes 9.2 and 7.5 Richter scale drew the attention of the geological engineers of the world and
compelled them to think about it. Both earthquakes produced spectacular examples of liquefactioninduced damage including ground failures, bridge and building foundation failures and floatation of
buried structures (Kramer, 1996). Since then hundreds of researchers around the world has been
studying this hazard. The term liquefaction was originally coined by Mogami and Kubo, (1953). The
generation of excess pore pressure under undrained loading condition is a hallmark of all liquefaction
phenomena. When cohesionless soils are saturated with water and rapid loading occurs under undrained
condition, the tendency for densification causes excess pore pressure to increase and effective stress to
decrease hence liquefaction results.
Keywords: Earthquake, liquefaction, microzonation, seismic hazard, Standard penetration test.
Liquefaction is a soil behaviour phenomenon in
which a saturated soil losses a substantial
amount of strength due to high excess porewater pressure generated by and accumulated
during strong earthquake ground shaking.
Liquefaction has been observed in earthquakes
for many years. In fact, written records dating
back hundreds and even thousands of years
describe earthquake effects that are now known
to be associated with liquefaction. Nevertheless,
liquefaction has been so widespread in a
number of recent earthquakes that it is often
associated with them. Some of those
earthquakes are Hyogo-ken Nanbu Earthquake
around Kobe in 1985, Loma Prieta Earthquake,
California in 1989, Mexico Earthquake in 1985,
Nigata Earthquake in 1964 (Sakai, et al. 2001

Liquefaction is caused by earthquake shaking.

Before going to the liquefaction hazard
assessment, it is important to know that:

What strength of Earthquake motion and

under what conditions of the ground surface
causes liquefaction?

What are the effects of liquefaction and how

it can be mitigated?

What are the guidelines for the preparation

of Liquefaction hazard map?

What are the applications of liquefaction

hazard map?

Virtu and Foi.


ISSN:- 2349283X

Different experts have various ways of defining
liquefaction. Some definitions are given below.
Liquefaction is defined as:

A phenomenon in which the strength and

stiffness of a soil is reduced by earthquake
shaking or other rapid loading (ABAG's
Report, "Real dirt on Liquefaction, 2001).
The capacity of relatively loose saturated
sandy soil to lose a large proportion of its
strength under seismic shaking (UNDP /
Processes by which sediments below the
water table temporarily loose strength and
behave as a viscous liquid rather than solid
(Hazus99SR2Technical Manual).

Liquefaction has been observed in earthquakes

for many years. In fact, written records dating
back hundreds and even thousands of years
describe earthquake effects that are now known
to be associated with liquefaction. Nevertheless,
liquefaction has been so widespread in a
number of recent earthquakes that it is often
associated with them. Some of those
earthquakes are listed below.
Alaska earthquake, USA (1964) as a part of
the Pacific Ring, the southern coast area of
Alaska experiences many earthquakes. On Good
Friday, March 27, 1964, a great earthquake of
magnitude 9.2 struck Prince William Sound and
caused severe damage in the form of landslides
and liquefaction as seen in fig.1 This seismic
event is not only the second largest ever to have
been recorded but it lasted for over 3 minutes
and was felt over an area of 500,000 square
miles Liquefaction in sand layers, and in sand
and silt seams in the clayey soils beneath
Anchorage, caused many of the destructive
landslides that occurred during the earthquake
(Seed,1973). The liquefied seams and lenses
disturbed the sensitive clays, and caused their
strengths to drop below the levels needed for

Fig .1 Alaska Earthquakes, USA

Niigata earthquake, Japan (1964) as the
Niigata earthquake of June 16, 1964 had a
magnitude of 7.5 and caused severe damage to
many structures in Niigata. The destruction was
observed to be largely limited to buildings that
were founded on top of loose, saturated soil
deposits. Even though about 2000 houses were
totally destroyed, only 28 lives were lost. The
Niigata earthquake, together with the Alaska
earthquake also of 1964, brought liquefaction
phenomena and their devastating effects to the
attention of engineers and seismologists. A
remarkable ground failure occurred near the
Shinano river bank where the Kawagishi-cho
apartment buildings suffered bearing capacity
failures and tilted severely as shown in fig. 2.
Despite the extreme tilting, the buildings
themselves suffered remarkably little structural
damage. Sand boils and ground fissures were
observed at various sites in Niigata. Lateral
spreading caused the foundations of the Showa
bridge to move laterally so much that the simply
supported spans became unseated and

Fig .2 Niigata earthquakes, Japan

Loma Prieta, earthquake (1989) as the
October 17 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake
(M=7.1) caused severe damage not only in the
vicinity of the epicentre near Santa Cruz, but

Virtu and Foi.


also in more distant areas to the north around
San Francisco and Oakland. Soil liquefaction
caused major damage to waterfront facilities,
structures, and buried pipelines at locations in
the Bay Area where loose saturated, sandy soils
were susceptible to liquefaction. The numerous
sand boils that were observed (fig.3) provided
indisputable evidence of the occurrence of
liquefaction. Liquefaction was observed at a
number of sites, including the Oakland airport,
sites along the Salinas River, and Moss Landing
Marine Station.

Fig .3 Loma Prieta earthquake

Kope earthquake, Japan (1965) as the 1995
Great Hanshin Earthquake (M=6.9), commonly
referred to as the Kobe earthquake, was one of
the most devastating earthquakes ever to hit
Japan; more than 5,500 were killed and over
26,000 injured. The proximity of the epicentre,
and the propagation of rupture directly beneath
the highly populated region, help explain the
great loss of life and the high level of
destruction. The spectacular collapse of the
Hanshin expressway illustrates (fig .4)
the effects of the high loads that were imposed
on structures in the area. The strong ground
motions that led to collapse of the Hanshin
Express way also caused severe liquefaction
damage to port and wharf facilities as can be
seen to the left and below.

Fig .4 Kope earthquakes, Japan


ISSN:- 2349283X

Soil liquefaction has been a major cause of
damage to soil structure, lifelines and building
foundation. Zoning for liquefaction, therefore,
has been an important goal for seismic hazard
mitigation. Soil liquefaction occurs in loose,
saturated cohesionless soil units (sands and
silts) and sensitive clays when a sudden loss of
strength and loss of stiffness is experienced,
sometimes resulting in large, permanent
displacements of the ground. Even thin lenses of
loose saturated silts and sands may cause an
overlying sloping soil mass to slide laterally
along the liquefied layer during earthquakes.
Liquefaction beneath and in the vicinity of a
waste containment unit can result in localized
bearing capacity failures, lateral spreading, and
excessive settlement that can have severe
consequences upon the integrity of waste
containment systems. Liquefaction-associated
lateral spreading and flow failures can also
affect the global stability of a waste containment
Mechanism of soil liquefaction
There is need to understand the mechanism of
soil liquefaction, where it occurs and why it
occurs so often during earthquake. Liquefaction
of soil is a process by which sediments below
the water table lose their shear strength and
behave more as viscous liquid than as a solid.
The water in the soil voids exerts pressure upon
the soil particles. If the pressure is low enough,
the soil stays stable. However, once the water
pressure exceeds a certain level, it forces the soil
particles to move relative to each other, thus
causing the strength of the soil to
decrease and failure of the soil. So when the
earthquake occurs the shear waves passes
through saturated soil layers and causes the
granular soil structure to deform and weak part
of soil begins to collapse.
Then collapse soil starts filling the lower layer
and forces the pore water pressure in this to
increase layer. If increased water pressure
cannot be released, it will continue to build up
and after a certain limit effective stress of the
soil becomes zero .If situation aroused then the
soil layer losses its shear strength and it cannot

Virtu and Foi.


certain the total weight of the soil layer above,
thus the upper layer soils are ready to move
down and behaves as a viscous liquid, if then it
is said to be soil liquefaction occurred.

Fig .5 Mechanism of Liquefaction (courtesy:
Liquefaction occurs in saturated soils, in which
the space between individual particles is
completely filled with water. Its effects are most
commonly observed in low-lying areas near
bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, bays, and
oceans (ABAG's Report, "Real dirt on
Liquefaction, 2001).
According to Kramer (1996), two types of
liquefaction exist.
Flow Liquefaction:
It occurs when the shear stress required for
static equilibrium of a soil mass (The static
shear stress) is greater than the shear strength
of the soil in its liquefied state. When
liquefaction occurs in such case the strength of
the soil decreases and the ability of soil deposit
to support for the structure is reduced.
Cyclic mobility:
It occurs when the static shear stress is less than
the shear strength of the liquefied soil. It
produces unacceptably large permanent
deformation during earthquake shaking, which
is also known as lateral spreading. It can occur
on very gently sloping ground or on virtually flat
ground adjacent to bodies of water.
Flow liquefaction occurs much less frequently
than cyclic mobility but its effects are usually far
more severe. Besides these two types, Ground
oscillation, loss of bearing strength and sand
boils are common phenomena of Liquefaction.
Factors affecting the liquefaction

ISSN:- 2349283X

Liquefaction susceptibility is a function of the

geotechnical properties and
position of the unit and is independent of the
regions expected seismicity. Factors affecting
liquefaction susceptibility include sedimentation
process, age of deposit, water table depth,
geologic history, grain size distribution, depth of
burial, density state, proximity to a free face and
ground slope (Youd and Perkins, 1978). They
are briefly described below.
Grain Size
Both field and laboratory data show that loosely
packed cohesionless sands that are clean
without clay or silt can readily liquefy and form
great number of clastic dykes, sills and sand
blows. According to Valera et al., (1994), the
threshold magnitude for sand to liquefy is 5.5
whereas for gravel deposit is 7. Laboratory and
insitu observation in recent years showed that
non-plastic silts might also liquefy (Ishihara,
1985). Coarse silts with bulky particle shape,
which are non-plastic and cohesionless, are fully
susceptible to liquefaction. Whereas finer silts
with flaky or plate like particles generally
exhibit sufficient cohesion to inhibit liquefaction
(Ishihara, 1993). Clays remain non susceptible
to liquefaction, although sensitive clays exhibit
deformation-softening behaviour similar to that
of liquefied soil (Kramer 1996). Fine-grained
soils that satisfy each of the following four
Chinese criteria (Wang, 1979) may be
considered susceptible to significant strength
Fraction finer than 0.005 mm = 15%
Liquid Limit (LL) = 35%
Natural water content = 0.9LL (Liquid Limit).
Liquidity index = 0.75.
When clay is contained in the sand and the
cohesion is high, liquefaction does not usually
occur, and if it does, the displacement is small.
Therefore, there is little settlement of ground,
and damage is slight. The presence of even a
small amount of cohesion from clay or silt sized
material can impede particle rearrangement
during cyclic straining and greatly increases
resistance to cyclic loading.
As little as 5% clay or silt sized material in a
sand deposit can make liquefaction significantly

Virtu and Foi.


less likely than for the same sand deposit lacking
fine grains research. Generally, coarse-grained
material such as coarse sand and gravel do not
go liquefaction but under very strong seismic
shaking and close to the source of the quake,
gravel also liquefies. For example during the
1983 Borah Peak, Idaho earthquake M-7.3
extensive liquefaction occurred. During this
earthquake large amount of gravel bearing sand
were vented on to the ground surface.
Significant lateral spreading also occurred
(Andrus et al., 1991). In general, gravel rich
deposits are more densely packed than sands
and high gravel content increases internal
friction resistance making liquefaction more
difficult. Liquefaction susceptibility is also
influenced by gradation. Well-graded soils are
generally less susceptible to liquefaction than
poorly graded soil. The filling of voids between
larger particles by smaller particles in a wellgraded soil results in lower volume change
potential under drained conditions and
consequently lower excess pore pressure under
undrained condition. Field evidence indicates
that most liquefaction failures occur in
uniformly graded soils. Similarly, particle shape
also influences the liquefaction susceptibility.
Soils with rounded particle shapes are known to
densify more easily than soils with angular
grains. Since particles rounding frequently occur
in fluvial and alluvial environment, liquefaction
susceptibility is often high in those areas.
Relative density
The arrangement or packing of sand grains has a
profound effect on sediment liquefaction
susceptibility. Susceptibility of the same sand
can be changed from very high to nonsusceptible simply because of a change in
packing. The state of looseness or denseness of
cohesion less sediment is generally measured in
place by the Standard penetration test (SPT).
SPT blow-count values in granular deposits
principally reflect states of relative density and
static vertical effective stress, which are the
Table 2.1 shows the relation between blow
count and relative density in terms ranging from
very loose to very dense. Sands that are

ISSN:- 2349283X

moderately dense or looser liquefy in many field

situations. Dense sands require exceptionally
strong shaking and very dense sands probably
rarely generate residual pore pressure large
enough to form fluidisation features (Seed et al.,
Table .1: Relation between blow count and
relative density
(Source Craig, 1986)

Depth to water table

Liquefaction susceptibility decrease strongly
with increasing depth to the water table
(Obermeier, 1996). The extent of the control is
indicated in the Table 3.2. According to this
table, the lowering of water table as little as
several meters can change the susceptibility
from high to low. Normally liquefaction is not
expected at a place where water table is greater
than 10 m.
Table 2: Influence of age deposit and depth
to water table on liquefaction susceptibility
(Obermeier, 1996)

Depth to thickness of Strata

Liquefaction during earthquake shaking
frequently originate as shallow as 1.5 to 2 m
below the ground surface (Obermeier et al,
1986). According to Seed (1979), the source
zone for liquefaction can exceed 20 m. The most
common depth however is a range between a
few meters and about 10 m. optimal depth is
about 2-4 m in many field settings where the
water table is within a few meters of the surface.
Lacustrine sediment seems to be most
favourable for the development of liquefaction
effects in thin strata because of the large aerial
extent to the strata. According to Ishihara
(1985) and Obermeier (1996), a cap thickness
exceeding 10 m prevents ground rupture even
in the most favourable circumstances for

Virtu and Foi.


Previous Liquefaction
A great deal of information on liquefaction
behaviour has come from post-earthquake field
investigations, which have shown that
liquefaction often recurs at the same location
when soil and groundwater conditions have
remained unchanged (Youd, 1984a). Thus,
liquefaction case histories can be used to
identify specific sites or more general site
conditions, that may be susceptible to
liquefaction in future earthquakes.
Human made deposits (Fill) those placed
without compaction are also very likely to be
susceptible to liquefaction (Kramer, 1986).
Conditions for soil liquefaction
For the liquefaction to occur in any place the
following conditions should be met.
The soil must be susceptible to
liquefaction (i.e. the soil should be
loose, water-saturated, sandy soil
typically between 0 and 10 meters
below the ground surface).
Ground shaking must be strong enough to
cause susceptible soils to liquefy.
Ground water should lie within 15 meter
deep inside the surface
Criteria for identifying and mapping
Liquefaction areas
A number of guidelines are being proposed for
developing liquefaction hazard map all over the
world. The geotechnical earthquake engineer
liquefaction hazards by addressing the following

Is the soil susceptible to liquefaction?

If the soil is susceptible, will liquefaction be
If liquefaction is triggered, will damage

If the answer to the first question is no, the

liquefaction hazard evaluation can be
terminated with the conclusion that liquefaction
hazard do not exist. If the answer is yes, the next
questions must be addressed. If answer to all
questions is yes then one should be ready for the
mapping of liquefaction areas.

ISSN:- 2349283X

The basic criteria for identifying and mapping

the liquefaction areas are:
Areas known to have experienced
containing liquefaction susceptible
materials are present.
geologically young material mostly
Holocene deposit.
Areas where soil testing (geotechnical
To understand more about the liquefaction why
it occurs and when, it is important to recognize
the conditions that exist in a soil deposit before
an earthquake. A soil deposit consists of an
assemblage of individual soil particles as shown
in Fig 5. If we look closely at these particles, we
can see that each particle is in contact with a
number of neighbouring particles. The weight of
the overlying soil particles produce contact
forces between the particles. These forces hold
individual particles in place and give the soil its
strength. Liquefaction occurs when the structure
of loose, saturated sand breaks down due to
some rapidly applied loading. As the structure
breaks down, the loosely packed individual soil
particles attempt to move into a denser
configuration. In an earthquake, however, there
is not enough time for the water in the pores of
the soil to be squeezed out. Instead, the water is
"trapped" and prevents the soil particles from
moving closer together. This is accompanied by
an increase in water pressure, which reduces
the contact forces between the individual soil
particles, thereby softening and weakening the
soil deposit. In an extreme case, the pore water
pressure may become so high that many of the
soil particles lose contact with each other. In
such cases, the soil will have very little strength,
and will behave more like a liquid than a solid hence; the name "liquefaction" is given to this
Recommended Screening
Liquefaction Potential

Virtu and Foi.




The following five screening criteria, from the
above reference, are recommended by Ohio EPA
for completing a liquefaction evaluation:

Geologic age and origin. If a soil layer is

fluvial, lacustrine or aeolian deposit of
Holocene age, a greater potential for
liquefaction exists than for till, residual
deposits, or older deposits.
Fines content and plasticity index.
Liquefaction potential in a soil layer
increases with decreasing fines content and
plasticity of the soil. Cohesionless soils
having less than 15 percent (by weight) of
particles smaller than 0.005 mm, a liquid
limit less than 35 percent, and an in situ
water content greater than 0.9 times the
liquid limit may be susceptible to
liquefaction (Seed and Idriss, 1982).
Saturation. Although low water content soils
have been reported to liquefy, at least 80 to
85 percent saturation is generally deemed
to be a necessary condition for soil
liquefaction. The highest anticipated
temporal phreatic surface elevations should
be considered when evaluating saturation.
Depth below ground surface. If a soil layer is
within 50 feet of the ground surface, it is
more likely to liquefy than deeper layers.

Soil Penetration Resistance. Seed et al, (1985),

state that soil layers with a normalized SPT blow
count [(N1)60] less than 22 have been known to
liquefy. Marcuson et al, 1990, suggest an SPT
value of [(N1)60] less than 30 as the threshold to
use for suspecting liquefaction potential.
Liquefaction has also been shown to occur if the
normalized CPT cone resistance (qc) is less than
157 tsf (15 MPa) (Shibata and Taparaska, 1988).
Liquefaction effects
Liquefaction-related ground failure historically
has caused extensive structural and lifeline
damage in urbanized areas around the world.
The damage caused by liquefaction leaves very
painful effects to the people. A lot of property
and lives are lost due to the effects of
Liquefaction. When the ground liquefies in an
earthquake, sandy or silty materials saturated
with water behave like a liquid, causing pipes to

ISSN:- 2349283X

leak, roads and airport runways to buckle, and

building foundations to be displaced.
Liquefaction potential Analysis
If potential exists for liquefaction at a facility,
additional subsurface investigation may be
necessary. Once all testing is complete, a factor
of safety against liquefaction is then calculated
for each critical layer that may liquefy.
A liquefaction analysis should, at a minimum,
address the following:

Developing a detailed understanding of site

conditions, the soil stratigraphy, material
properties and their variability, and the
areal extent of potential critical layers.
amenable to analysis. SPT procedures are
widely used in practice to characterize the
soil (field data are easier to obtain on loose
cohesion less soils than trying to obtain and
test undisturbed samples). The data needs
to be corrected as necessary, for example,
using the normalized SPT blow count
[(N1)60] . The total vertical stress (vo) and
effective vertical stress (vo') in each
stratum also need to be evaluated. This
should take into account the changes in
overburden stress across the lateral extent
of each critical layer, and the temporal high
phreatic and piezometric surfaces,

Calculation of the force required to liquefy

the critical zones, based on the
characteristics of the critical zone(s) (e.g.,
fines content, normalized standardized blow
count, overburden stresses, level of

Calculation of the design earthquakes effect

on each potentially liquefiable layer should
be performed using the site-specific in situ
soil data and an understanding of the
earthquake magnitude potential for the
facility, and

Computing the factor of safety against

susceptible critical

Virtu and Foi.


The use of insitu testing is the dominant
approach in common engineering practice for
potential. Calculation of two variables is
required for evaluation of liquefaction
resistance of soils (Seed et al, 2001;Youd et
al,2001).They are as follows
1. The seismic demand on a soil layer
expressed in terms of CSR and
2. The capacity of the soil to resist liquefaction
expressed in terms of CRR.
The models proposed by Seed & Idriss methods
are extensively used for predicting liquefaction
potential using field data.
Seed & Idriss method
After the disastrous earthquakes in Alaska and
in Niigata, Japan in 1964, Professors Seed and
Idriss (1971), developed and published a
methodology termed the simplified procedure
for evaluating liquefaction resistance of soils.
Seed and Idriss (1971) developed and published
the basic simplified procedure. That
procedure has been modified and improved
periodically since that time, primarily through
landmark papers by Seed (1979), Seed and
Idriss (1982), and Seed et al. (1985). In 1985,
Whitman (1985) convened a workshop on
behalf of the National Research Council (NRC),
USA in which 36 experts and observers
thoroughly reviewed the state-of-knowledge
and the state-of-the-art for assessing
liquefaction hazard. That workshop produced a
report (NRC 1985) that has become a widely
used standard and reference for liquefaction
hazard assessment. In January 1996, T. L. Youd
and I. M. Idriss convened a workshop of 20
experts to update the simplified procedure and
incorporate research find in from the previous
recommendations from that workshop (Youd
and Idriss 1997).
Liquefaction is defined as the transformation of
a granular material from a solid to a liquefied
state as a consequence of increased pore-water
pressure and reduced effective stress (Marcuson
1978). Increased pore-water pressure is
induced by the tendency of granular materials to
compact when subjected to cyclic shear
deformations. The change of state occurs most

ISSN:- 2349283X

readily in loose to moderately dense granular

soils with poor drainage, such as silty sands or
sands and gravels capped by or containing
seams of impermeable sediment. As liquefaction
occurs, the soil stratum softens, allowing large
cyclic deformations to occur. In loose materials,
the softening is also accompanied by a loss of
shear strength that may lead to large shear
deformations or even flow failure under
moderate to high shear stresses, such as beneath
a foundation or sloping ground. In moderately
dense to dense materials, liquefaction leads to
transient softening and increased cyclic shear
strains, but a tendency to dilate during shear
inhibits major strength loss and large ground
deformations. A condition of cyclic mobility or
cyclic liquefaction may develop following
liquefaction of moderately dense granular
materials. Beneath gently sloping to flat ground,
liquefaction may lead to ground oscillation or
lateral spread as a consequence of either flow
deformation or cyclic mobility. Loose soils also
reconsolidation, leading to ground settlement.
Sand boils may also erupt as excess pore water
pressures dissipate.
Calculation, or estimation, of two variables is
required for evaluation of liquefaction
resistance of soils: (1) the seismic demand on a
soil layer, expressed in terms of CSR; and (2) the
capacity of the soil to resist liquefaction,
expressed in terms of CRR.
Seed and Idriss (1971) formulated the following
equation for calculation of the cyclic stress ratio:
CSR = (av /vo) = 0.65(amax /g) (vo /'vo)rd
Where amax = peak horizontal acceleration at the
ground surface generated by the earthquake; g =
acceleration of gravity; vo and 'vo are total and
respectively; and rd= stress reduction
coefficient. The latter coefficient accounts for
flexibility of the soil profile. For routine practice
and noncritical projects, the following equations

Virtu and Foi.


may be used to estimate average values of rd
(Liao and Whitman 1986b):

<z 23 m

rd= 1.0 -0.00765z for z 9.15 m

rd= 1.174 -0.0267z for 9.15 m

Where z= depth below ground surface in meters.

Some investigators have suggested additional
equations for estimating rd at greater depths
(Robertson and Wride 1998), but evaluation of
liquefaction at these greater depths is beyond
the depths where the simplified procedure is
verified and where routine applications should
be applied. Mean values of rd calculated from (2)
are plotted in Fig. 2.6, along with the mean and
range of values proposed by Seed and Idriss
(1971). With past practice, rd values determined
from (2) are suitable for use in routine
engineering practice. Factor rd calculated from
(2) are the mean of a wide range of possible rd,
and that the range of rd increases with depth
(Golesorkhi 1989).For ease of computation,
Blake (1996) approximated the mean curve
plotted in Fig. 2.6 by the following equation:

Where z= depth beneath ground surface in
meters. Eq. (3) yields essentially the same
values for rd as (2), but is easier to program and
may be used in routine engineering practice.

FIG.6. rd versus Depth Curves Developed by

Seed and Idriss(1971) with Added MeanValue Lines Plotted from Eq. (2)

ISSN:- 2349283X


A plausible method for evaluating CRR is to
retrieve and test undisturbed soil specimens in
the laboratory. Unfortunately, in situ stress
states generally cannot be reestablished in the
laboratory, and specimens of granular soils
retrieved with typical drilling and sampling
techniques are too disturbed to yield meaningful
results. Only through specialized sampling
techniques, such as ground freezing, can
obtained.Several field tests have gained common
usage for evaluation of liquefaction resistance,
including the standard penetration test (SPT),
the cone penetration test (CPT), shear-wave
velocity measurements (Vs), and the Becker
penetration test (BPT).
SPTs are generally preferred because of the
more extensive databases and past experience,
but the other tests may be applied at sites
underlain by gravelly sediment or where access
by large equipment is limited.
Criteria for evaluation of liquefaction
resistance based on the SPT
Criteria for evaluation of liquefaction resistance
based on the SPT have been rather robust over
the years. Those criteria are largely embodied in
the CSR versus (N1)60 plots reproduced in Fig.
2.7 (N1)60 is the SPT blow count normalized to
an overburden pressure of approximately 100
kPa (1 ton/sqft) and a hammer energy ratio or
hammer efficiency of 60%. Fig. 2.7 is a graph of
calculated CSR and corresponding (N1)60 data
from sites where liquefaction effects were or
were not observed following past earthquakes
with magnitudes of approximately 7.5. CRR
curves on this graph were conservatively
positioned to separate regions with data
indicative of liquefaction from regions with data
indicative of nonliquefaction. Curves were
developed for granular soils with the fines
contents of 5% or less,15%, and 35% as shown
on the plot. The CRR curve for fines
contents<5% is the basic penetration criterion
for the simplified procedure and is referred to
hereafter as the SPT clean sand base curve.
The CRR curves in Fig. 2 are valid only for
magnitude 7.5 earthquakes

Virtu and Foi.


Rauch (1998), approximated the clean-sand
base curve plotted in Fig.7 by the following

This equation is valid for (N1)60< 30. For
(N1)6030, clean granular soils are too dense to
liquefy and are classed as nonliquefiable. This
equation may be used in spreadsheets and other
analytical techniques to approximate the cleansand base curve for routine engineering

ISSN:- 2349283X

= exp [1.76 2 (190/FC)] for

5% < FC < 35% (6b)
= 5.0 for FC 35%
= 1.0 for FC 5%
1.5 = [0.99 1 (FC /1,000)] for
5% < FC < 35% (7b)
= 1.2 for FC 35%
Where and = coefficients determined from
the following relationships:
These equations may be used for routine
liquefaction resistance calculations. A backcalculated curve for a fines content of 35% is
essentially congruent with the 35% curve
plotted in Fig. 2.7.The back-calculated curve for
fines contents of 15%plots to the right of the
original 15% curve.
Other Corrections
Several factors in addition to fines content and
grain characteristics influence SPT results, as
noted in Table 2. Eq. (8) incorporates these

FIG.7 SPT Clean-Sand Base Curve for

Magnitude 7.5 Earthquakes with Data from
Liquefaction Case Histories (Modified from
Seed et al. 1985)
Influence of Fines Content
In the original development, Seed et al. (1985)
noted an apparent increase of CRR with
increased fines content. Whether this increase is
caused by an increase of liquefaction resistance
or a decrease of penetration resistance is not
clear. Based on the empirical data available,
Seed et al. developed CRR curves for various
fines contents reproduced in Fig. 2.7
The following equations were developed by
Seed and Idriss (1971) with the assistance of R.
B. Seed for correction of (N1)60 to an equivalent
clean sand value, (N1)60cs:
(N1)60cs= + (N1)60
= 0 for FC 5%

(N1)60 = Nm CN CE CB CR CS
Where:Nm= measured standard penetration resistance;
CN=factor to normalize Nm to a common
reference effective overburden stress;
CE= correction for hammer energy ratio (ER);
CB= correction factor for borehole diameter;
CR= correction factor for rod length; and
CS= correction for samplers with or without
Because SPT N-values increase with increasing
effective overburden stress, an overburden
stress correction factor is applied (Seed and
Idriss 1982). This factor is commonly calculated
from the following equation (Liao and Whitman
CN= (P /'VO)


Virtu and Foi.



CN normalizes Nm to an effective overburden
pressure of 'vo approximately 100 kPa (1 atm)
P a.
CN should not exceed a value of 1.7
The effective overburden pressure 'vo applied
in equation (8) should be the overburden
pressure at the time of drilling and testing.
Although a higher ground-water level might be
used for conservatism in the liquefaction
resistance calculations, the CN factor must be
based on the stresses present at the time of the
The CN correction factor was derived from SPT
performed in test bins with large sand
specimens subjected to various confining
pressures (Gibbs and Holtz 1957; Marcus on and
Bieganousky 1997). The results of several of
these tests are reproduced in Fig. 2.8 in the form
of CN curves versus effective overburden stress
considerable scatter of results with no apparent
correlation of CN with soil type or gradation. The
curves from looser sands, however, lie in the
lower part of the CN range and are reasonably
approximated by (8) and (9) for low effective
overburden pressures [200 kPa (<2 tsf)].

ISSN:- 2349283X

energy ratio for various types of hammer sand

anvils are listed in Table 2.3 Because of
variations in drilling and testing equipment and
differences in testing procedures, a rather wide
range in the energy correction factor CE has been
observed as noted in the table. Even when
procedures are carefully monitored to conform
to established standards, such as ASTM D 158699, some variation in CE may occur because of
minor variations in testing procedures.
Measured energies at a single site indicate that
variations in energy ratio between blows or
between tests in a single borehole typically vary
by as much as 10%. Where measurements
cannot be made, careful observation and
notation of the equipment and procedures are
required to estimate a CE value for use in
liquefaction resistance calculations. Use of goodquality testing equipment and carefully
controlled testing procedures conforming to
ASTM D 1586-99 will generally yield more
consistent energy ratios and CE with values from
the upper parts of the ranges listed in Table 2.3.

TABLE.3 Corrections to SPT (Modified from

Skempton 1986) as Listed by Robertson and
Wride (1998)

Another important factor is the energy

transferred from the falling hammer to the SPT
sampler. An ER (Energy Ratio) of 60% is
generally accepted as the approximate average
for U.S. testing practice and as a reference value
for energy corrections. The ER delivered to the
sampler depends on the type of hammer, anvil,
lifting mechanism, and the method of hammer
release. Approximate correction factors (CE =
ER/60) to modify the SPT results to a 60%

FIG. .8.CN Curves for Various Sands Based on

Field and Laboratory Test Data along with
Suggested CN Curve Determined from Eqs.
(9) and (10) (Modified from Castro 1995)
Skempton (1986) suggested and Robertson and
Wride (1998) updated correction factors for rod
lengths <10 m, borehole diameters outside the
recommended interval (65125mm), and
sampling tubes without liners. Range for these
correction factors is listed in Table 2.3 For
liquefaction resistance calculations and rod
lengths <3 m, a CR of 0.75 should be applied as
was done by Seed et al. (1985) in formulating
the simplified procedure. Although application
of rod-length correction factors listed in Table
2.3 will give more precise (N1)60values, these
corrections may be neglected for liquefaction
resistance calculations for rod lengths between

Virtu and Foi.



3 and 10 m because rod-length corrections were
not applied to SPT test data from these depths in
compiling the original liquefaction case history
databases. Thus rod-length corrections are
implicitly incorporated into the empirical SPT
The standard penetration test (SPT) is an
empirical dynamic penetration test developed in
USA in the 1920s and was usually carried out in
50 to 100 mm diameter wash borings. The test
is most commonly used in situ test especially for
cohesionless soils, which cannot be easily
sampled. The test is extremely used for
determining the relative density, bearing
capacity and the angle of shearing resistance of
the cohesionless soil. The test is performed
using a split barrel sample tube of 50 mm
external diameter, 35 mm internal diameter and
about 65 mm in length as specified in BS 1377.

ISSN:- 2349283X

the settlement of cohesionless soil and are

described by a number of authors (Meyerhof,
1956; Terzaghi and Peck, 1967). It has wide
application in determining the liquefaction
susceptibility of a place.
There are a number of factors involved in the
SPT, which can affect the blow count, mainly
related to poor testing practice. The standard
penetration number is corrected for dilatancy
effect and overburden effect (Craig, 1986)
(i) Dilatancy correction
Silty fine sands and fine sands below the water
table develop pore pressure, which is not easily
dissipated. The pore pressure affects the
resistance of the soil and hence the penetration
number (N). Terzaghi and peck (1967)
recommend the following correction in the case
of silty fine sands when the observed value of N
exceeds 15.

There are different methods of releasing the

hammer in different countries. However, the
borehole must be cleaned out to the required
depth before the hammering is taken place and
care must be taken to ensure that the material to
be tested is not disturbed.
In this process, a hammer of 63.5 kg weight with
a free fall height of 750 mm is used to drive the
sampler. Initially the sampler is driven 150 mm
into the sand to seat the sampler and by-pass
any disturbed sand at the bottom of the
borehole. The number of blows required to
drive the sampler a further 300 mm is then
recorded. This number is called the Standard
penetration resistance (N) value. If 50 blows are
reached before a penetration of 30 cm no
further blows should be recorded. If the test is to
be carried out in gravelly soils, the driving shoe
is replaced by the 600 cone.
SPT test is very specific tool for the liquefaction
hazard analysis. It also has the unique feature of
supplying samples for soil classification
purpose. Usually SPT is conducted at every 1 m
depth or at the change of stratum.
The N-values are extensively used in
determining the bearing capacity and predicting

N'= 15 + (N -15)

(10) (Craig, 1988)

Where:N Corrected SPT value
N Observed SPT value.
If NR 15,
Nc =NR
(ii)Overburden Pressure
Skempton summarized the evidence regarding
the influence of test procedure on the value of
standard penetration resistance (Craig, 1986).
Measured N value should be corrected to allow
for the different methods of releasing the
hammer, the type of anvil and the total length of
boring rods. Only the energy delivered to the
sampler is applied in penetrating the sand, the
ratio of the delivered energy to the free fall
energy of the hammer being referred to as the
rod energy ratio, which varies between 45% and
78% for the operating procedures used in
several countries. It has been recommended that
a standard rod energy ratio of 60% should be
adopted and that all measured N values should
be normalized by simple proportion of energy
ratios, to this standard: the normalized values
are denoted (N1)60. If a short length of boring
rods (<10m) is used in a test, a reflection of
energy occurs and a further loss in delivered
energy results. A further correction should

Virtu and Foi.



therefore be applied to the measured N values if
the total length of rods is less than 10m.
Standard penetration resistance depends not
only on relative density but also on the effective
stresses at the depth of measurements. Effective
stresses can be represented to a first
demonstrated in the laboratory by Gibbs and
Holtz and was later confirmed in the field. Sand
at the same relative density would thus give
different value of standard penetration
resistance at different depths. Several proposals
have been made for the correction of measured
N values. The corrected value (N1) is related to
the measured value (N) by the factor CN, where
N1 = CN N
CN = Correction factor and can be obtained from
the graph prepared by Liao and Whitman,
(1986). Also

SPT correction factor, CN

ISSN:- 2349283X

in the Table 3.1 and are considered to apply to

normally consolidated sands. The relative
density of sand was described by Terzaghi and
Peck (1967) in general terms on the basis of
standard penetration resistance, numerical
values of relative density as shown in column 3
were subsequently added by Gibbs and Holtz
(Craig, 1986)
The clean-sand base or CRR curves in Figs. 2.7,
only to magnitude 7.5 earthquakes. To adjust
the clean-sand curves to magnitudes smaller or
larger than 7.5, Seed and Idriss (1982)
magnitude scaling factors (MSFs). These
factors are used to scale the CRR base curves
upward or downward on CRR versus (N1)60,
qc1N, or Vs1 plots. Conversely, magnitude
weighting factors, which are the inverse of
magnitude scaling factors, may be applied to
correct CSR for magnitude. Either correcting
CRR via magnitude scaling factors, or correcting
CSR via magnitude weighting factors, leads to
the same final result.
To illustrate the influence of magnitude scaling
factors on calculated hazard, the equation for
factor of safety (FS) against liquefaction is
written in terms of CRR, CSR, and MSF as
Where CSR = calculated cyclic stress ratio
generated by the earthquake shaking; and CRR7.5
= cyclic resistance ratio for magnitude 7.5
earthquakes. CRR7.5 is determined from Fig. 2 7
for SPT data

Fig .9: SPT overburden correction factor

after Liao and Whiteman (1986)

(N1)60 is the standard penetration resistance

normalized to a rod energy ratio of 60% and an
effective overburden pressure of 100 kN/m2.
Appropriate values of (N1)60 were added to the
Terzaghi and Peck (1967) classification of
relative density by Skempton (1986) as shown

Seed and Idriss (1982) Scaling Factors

Because of the limited amount of field
liquefaction data available in the 1970s, Seed
and Idriss (1982) were unable to adequately
constrain bounds between liquefaction and nonliquefaction regions on CRR plots for
magnitudes other than 7.5. Consequently, they
developed a set of MSF from average numbers of
loading cycles for various earthquake
magnitudes and laboratory test results. A
representative curve developed by these

Virtu and Foi.



ISSN:- 2349283X

investigators, showing the number of loading

cycles required to generate liquefaction for
given CSR, is reproduced in Fig. 2.10. The
average number of loading cycles for various
magnitudes of earthquakes is also noted on the
plot. The initial set of magnitude scaling factors
was derived by dividing CSR values on the
representative curve for the number of loading
cycles corresponding to a given earthquake
magnitude by the CSR for 15 loading cycles
(equivalent to a magnitude 7.5 earthquake).
These scaling factors are shown in Fig. 2.10.
These MSFs have been routinely applied in
engineering practice since their introduction in

The workshop participants recommend these

revised scaling factors as a lower bound for MSF
values. The revised scaling factors are
significantly higher than the original scaling
factors for magnitudes <7.5 and somewhat
lower than the original factors for magnitudes
>7.5. Relative to the original scaling factors, the
revised factors lead to a reduced calculated
liquefaction hazard for magnitudes <7.5, but
increase calculated hazard for magnitudes >7.5.

Revised Idriss Scaling Factors

In preparing his H. B. Seed Memorial Lecture, I.
M. Idriss re-evaluated the data that he and the
late Professor Seed used to calculate the original
(1982) magnitude scaling factors.

1) By Avoiding Liquefaction Susceptible Soils

Construction on liquefaction susceptible soils is
to be avoided. It is required to characterize the
soil at a particular building site according to the
various criterias available to determine the
liquefaction potential of the soil in a site.

Remedial measures
The soil liquefaction hazard cannot be
prevented but can be reduced by taking the
following steps:

2) Build Liquefaction Resistant Structures

The structure constructed should be liquefaction
resistant i.e., designing the foundation elements
to resist the effects of liquefaction if at all it is
necessary to construct the structure on
liquefiable soil because of favourable location,
space restriction and other reasons.

FIG. 10: Representative Relationship

between CSR and Number of Cycles to Cause
Liquefaction (Reproduced from Seed and
Idriss 1982)
In so doing, Idriss replotted the data on a log-log
plot and suggested that the data should plot as a
straight line. He noted, however, that one
outlying point had strongly influenced the
original analysis, causing the original plot to be
nonlinear and characterized by unduly low MSF
values for magnitudes <7.5. Based on this reevaluation, Idriss defined a revised set of
magnitude scaling factors shown in Fig. 2.10.
The revised MSFs are defined by the following
MSF = 102.24/M w 2.56

3) Improve the Soil

This involves mitigation of the liquefaction
hazards by improving the strength, density and
drainage characteristics of the soil. This can be
done using variety of soil improvement
These are normally applied when designing and
constructing new buildings or other structures
as bridges, tunnels, and roads etc. The
liquefiable soil can be improved by increasing
the drainage capability of soil or by applying
drainage techniques for example using gravel
sand or synthetic material (ABAG's Report,
Determination of liquefaction potential due to
earthquake is complex geotechnical problem.
Many factors including soil parameters and

Virtu and Foi.



phenomenon. The devastating damage of
liquefaction induced ground failures in the
Alaska 1964 and Niigata 1964 earthquakes
serve as a clear reminder of such events.
Liquefaction is one of the ground failures in
potential earth science hazard. Since area with
high seismic probability, there is need for the
assessment of liquefaction potential to recognize
the conditions that exist in a soil deposit before
an earthquake in order to identify liquefaction.
The simplified procedure suggested by seed &
Idriss (1971). The method (on the basis of field
performance data) suggested by seed & Idriss
(1971) is used for determination of liquefaction
potential and also to present a liquefaction
hazard map using SPT data collected from the
various sites at different locations of an study
area. From the analysis it is observed that the
areas with river channel deposit are the most
hazardous area for liquefaction. From the study
it is also concluded that if acceleration level is
increased then more area will be affected due to
liquefaction. In this study we concluded that if
earthquake more than or equal to 6.5 ritcher
scale occurs in region, it will be extensively
damaged due to liquefaction. The percentage of
silt and poorly graded sand is high in the area
under Ramgarh Tal Pariyojna indicating that
there is a great chance of soil liquefaction. Here
liquefaction potential analysis is done to
determine the factor of safety at different depth.
The structure constructed should be liquefaction
resistant i.e., designing the foundation elements
to resist the effects of liquefaction if at all it is
necessary to construct the structure on
liquefiable soil because of favourable location,
space restriction and other reasons.
1. Rao, K. S. and Mohanty, W. K.,
Microzonation of Delhi region: An
approach. J. Indian Build. Congr.,2001,
8, 102114.
2. Rao, K. S., Liquefaction studies for
seismic microzonation of Delhi region.
In Indian Geotechnical Conference,
2001, vol. 2, pp. 4451.
3. IS: 1893-2002, Criteria for earthquake
resistant design of structures.
4. Rao, K. S., Stability and rehabilitation
aspects of earth dams dam- aged during

Virtu and Foi.







ISSN:- 2349283X

Proc.Forensic Geotech. Engg. 2003, 1,
Youd, T. L. and Perkins, D. M., Mapping
liquefaction induced ground failure
potential. J. Geotech. Engg. Div. ASCE,
1978, 104, 433446.
DST Report, Geo-Scientific studies in
and around Delhi, 2004, p. 74.
TC4, Committee of ISSMFE Manual for
Zonation on Seismic Geotechnical
Hazards, Japan, 1993, p. 149.
Seed, H. B. and Peacock, W. H., Test
liquefaction characteristics. J. Soil Mech.
Found. Div., 1971, 97, 10991199.
Seed, H. B., Soil liquefaction and cyclic
mobility evaluation for level ground
during earthquakes. J. Geotech. Eng.
Div., 1979, 105, 210255.
Iwasaki, T., Tokida, K., Tatsuoka, F.,
Watanabe, S., Yasuda, S. and Sato, H.,
Microzonation for soil liquefaction
potential using simplified methods. In
Proceedings of Third International
Conference on Microzonation, Seattle,
1982, vol. 3, pp. 13101330.
Seed H.B., Tokimatsu, K., L.F.and Chung,
R.M. (1985). The Influence of SPT
Resistance Evaluations, J. of Geotech
Engg Div., ASCE, 111(20), pp. 14251445.

12. Whitman, R.V., 1971. Resistance of Soil

to Liquefaction and Settlement. Soils
Found 11 (4), 5968.
13. Youd, T. L. and Perkins, D. M, (2004)
Mapping Liquefaction Induced Ground
Failure Potential. J. Geotech. Eng. Div.
ASCE, 1978, 104, 433446. DST Report,
Geo-Scientific Studies in and around
Delhi, , p. 74.
14. Youd,T.L.and Idriss, (2001).Liquefaction
Resistance of Soils: Summary Report
NCEER/NSF Workshop on Evaluation of
Liquefaction Resistance of Soils, J. of



ISSN:- 2349283X

Geotech & Geo-env., ASCE 127(4)

15. Youd, T. L., 1991. Mapping of
Earthquake Induced Liquefaction for
Seismic Zonation. Proc. Fourth Int. Int.
Conf. Seismic Zonation 1, pp. 111-147
16. Youd, T. L., (1984a). Recurrence of
Liquefaction at the same site,
Proceedings, 8th World Conference on
Earthquake Engineering, Vol. 3, pp.
17. Youd, T. L, and Perkins, D.M. (1978).
Mapping Liquefaction-Induced Ground
Failure Potential, Proc. ASCE Civil Eng.,
v.104, n0. GT4, p. 433-446.

Virtu and Foi.