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∑ Seismic zones in India and earthquake hazard.

∑ Role of architect and structural designer in safe building design
∑ Comparison of seismic and conventional design
∑ Causes of earthquake, social & economic consequences
∑ Major Earthquake case studies, impact on built environment, classification of
observed building failure patterns: Global, Indian
∑ Basic terms: Fault line, focus, Epicenter distance, Focal depth, Peak ground
acceleration etc. Impact of soil characteristics on buildings, seismic zoning and
micro zoning

The varying geology at different locations in the country implies that the likelihood of
damaging earthquakes taking place at different locations is different. Thus, a seismic
zone map is required to identify these regions. Based on the levels of intensities
sustained during damaging past earthquakes, the 1970 version of the zone map
subdivided India into five zones – I, II, III, IV and V. The maximum Modified Mercalli
(MM) intensity of seismic shaking expected in these zones were V or less, VI, VII, VIII,
and IX and higher, respectively. Parts of Himalayan boundary in the north and
northeast, and the Kachchh area in the west were classified as zone V.
Seismic zone map in 1962, which was later revised in 1967 and again in 1970. The map
has been revised again in 2002 and it now has only four seismic zones – II, III, IV and V
(figure below). The areas falling in seismic zone I in the 1970 version of the map are
merged with those of seismic zone II. Also, the seismic zone map in the peninsular
region has been modified. Madras now comes in seismic zone III as against in zone II in
the 1970 version of the map. This 2002 seismic zone map is not the final word on the
seismic hazard of the country, and hence there can be no sense of complacency in this

Classification of Zones and its characteristics:

Zone 5

¸ It covers the areas with the highest risks zone that suffers earthquakes of
intensity MSK IX or greater
¸ It is referred to as the Very High Damage Risk Zone
¸ The region of Kashmir, the western and central Himalayas, North and Middle
Bihar, the North-East Indian region and the Rann of Kutch fall in this zone
¸ The IS code assigns zone factor of 0.36 for Zone 5, Structural designers use this
factor for earthquake resistant design of structures in Zone 5
Zone 4

¸ This zone is called the High Damage Risk Zone and covers areas liable to MSK
¸ The Indo-Gangetic basin and the capital of the country Delhi, Jammu and
Kashmir fall in Zone 4
¸ In Maharashtra, the Patan area (Koyananager),In Bihar the northern part of the
state like- Raksaul, Near the border of India and Nepal, is also in zone no-4
¸ The IS code assigns zone factor of 0.24 for Zone 4

Zone 3
¸ The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, parts of Kashmir, Western Himalayas fall
under this zone
¸ This zone is classified as Moderate Damage Risk Zone which is liable to MSK
VII. and also 7.8
¸ The IS code assigns zone factor of 0.16 for Zone 3

Zone 2
¸ This region is liable to MSK VI or less and is classified as the Low Damage Risk
¸ IS code assigns zone factor of 0.10
Zone 1
¸ Since the current division of India into earthquake hazard zones does not use
Zone 1
¸ No area of India is classed as Zone 1

Earthquake hazards

Seismic zonation map shows that India is highly vulnerable for earthquake hazards.
India has witnessed more than 650 earthquakes of Magnitude >5 during the last
hundred years. Furthermore, the earthquake disaster is increasing alarmingly here.

In addition to very active northern and northeastern seismicity, the recent events in
Killari (Maharastra) and Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) in the Peninsular India have raised
many problems to seismologists. The occurrence of earthquakes can be explained with
the concept of “Plate Tectonics”. Based on this three broad categories of earthquakes
can be recognised. Those occurring at the subduction/collision zones are Inter-plates
activity. Those at mid-oceanic ridges are intra-plates. Seismic events in India mainly
belong to the first category.

However, a few third category events are also known. Earthquake events are reported
from the Himalayan mountain range including Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Indo-
Gangetic plain as well as from Peninsular region of India. Subduction/collision
earthquakes in India occur in the Himalayan Frontal Arc (HFA). This arc is about 2500
km long and extends from Kashmir in the west to Assam in the east. It constitutes the
central part of the Alpine seismic belt. This is one of the most seismically active regions
in the world.

The Indian plate came into existence after initial rifting of the southern Gondwanaland
in late Triassic period. Subsequently it drifted in mid-Jurassic to late Cretaceous time.
The force responsible for this drifting came from the spreading of the Arabian Sea on
either side of the Carisberg ridge. It eventually collided with the Eurasian plate. This led
to the creation of Himalayan mountain range. The present day seismicity of this is due
to continued collision between the Indian and the Eurasian plates.

North eastern region of India lies at the junction of the Himalayan arc to the north and
the Burmese arc to the east. It is one of the six most seismically active regions of the
world. The other five regions are Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey and California.
Eighteen large earthquakes with magnitude >7 occurred in this region during the last
hundred years. High seismic activity in the northeastern region may be attributed to the
collision tectonics in the north (Himalayan arc) and subduction tectonics in the east
(Burmese arc).

The Syntaxis Zone (The Mishmi Hills Block), which is the meeting place of the
Himalayan and Burmese arcs is another tectonic domain in the region.

The Main Central Thrust (MCT) and the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) are the two
major crystal discontinuities in the Himalayan arc of the Northeastern region. In the
Burmese arc, the structural trend of the Indo-Myanmar Ranges (IMR) swing from the
NE-SW in the Naga Hills to N-S along the ArakanYoma and Chin Hills.

Naga Thrust is the prominent discontinuity in the north. It connects the Tapu Seismic
Hazards in India 33 Thrust to the south and Dauki Fault to the east. This fold belt
appears to be continuous with the Andaman-Nicobar ridge to the south. The Mishmi
Thrust and the Lohit Thrust are the major discontinuities identified in the Syntaxis


The earthquake resistance of buildings depends upon three quite different processes in
design. There is the overall layout of the building which determines the magnitude of
the forces which come onto the building and their distribution: a distribution which is
important in the vertical direction in section as well as the horizontal direction in plan.
Secondly, there is the ability of the various parts of the building to resist these forces,
the strength of individual members and the connections between them. Thirdly there
are those aspects of construction, which are rarely mentioned at all, non-structural or
architectural aspects of building, non-load bearing walls and finishes. These may
constitute a significant proportion of the mass of the building, their behavior may be
quite independent from that of the main structural elements, and may cause serious
danger to people or buildings. Both the architect and the structural engineer have to be
careful in creating a safe building design.

Role of Architect

The architect’s role to oversee the whole project, standing in the midst of many fields, is
very important from a viewpoint of the comprehensiveness of architecture as an
aggregate of a variety of many different kinds of expertise. An architect is required to
have awareness, judgment, and energy as the person responsible for the whole of the
project architecture in such a way that they should see the issues in a variety of fields as
they relate to the whole picture, and not just to each individual field. Anyone who
believes that an architect is responsible for only narrowly-defined design work is not
able to fulfill the social responsibility of an architect, and may be called a designer, but
never an architect. Among the team, the earthquake-resistant design of structural
frames is within the structural engineer’s remit, and not within the architect’s field. It is
natural that a structural engineer plays an important role in improving the seismic
capacity of buildings. However, seismic capacity of structural frames depends on the
basic concepts of architectural spaces for which the architect plays the leading role.
Moreover, earthquake-resistant design of structural frames alone does not ensure the
safety of the living environment as a whole. An architect must oversee the whole team,
and suggest and decide the basic concepts of architectural spaces, with sufficient
understanding of both the way the safety of the living environment as a whole ought to
be, and the present state and basic concepts of earthquake-resistant technology

Role of Structural Engineer

The role of the structural engineer is a key component in the construction process. Part
of the wider discipline of civil engineering, structural engineering is concerned with the
design and physical integrity of buildings and other large structures, like tunnels and
bridges. Structural engineers have wide range of responsibilities - not least a duty to
ensure the safety and durability of the project on which they are working.

Unlike architects, who must focus on the appearance, shape, size and use of the
building, structural engineers must solve technical problems - and help the architect
achieve his or her vision for the project.

Structural engineers must have a strong grasp of physics, three-dimensional conceptual

skills and creative problem solving. Outside of an ability to apply principles of
mechanics, mathematics and physics to construct safe, sustainable buildings, the roles
and responsibilities of structural engineers include:

Design: Many structural engineers deal primarily in the design of structures -

calculating the loads and stresses the construction will have to safely withstand.
Structural engineers should be able to factor in the different qualities and strengths
delivered by a range of building materials, and understand how to incorporate support
beams, columns and foundations.

Investigation: Before work can begin, structural engineers are involved in the
investigation and survey of build sites to determine the suitability of the earth for the
requirements of the upcoming project.

Communication: Structural engineers will be required to co-ordinate and consult with

other members of their projects, including engineers, environmental scientists,
architects and landscape architects. They may also be required to assist government
bodies in their own inspections relating to the project.

Management: Structural engineers are often responsible for the organisation and
delivery of materials and equipment for the needs of the construction project. The
supervision and management of on-site labour may also be a necessity.


Because of the safety issues involved in their work, structural engineers must be trained
to strict standards. Most structural engineering courses require a related undergraduate
degree in an engineering discipline. After graduation, structural engineers work

towards professional qualifications - becoming Associated and then Chartered
Members with the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Structural engineering courses can be very competitive and prospective candidates

should look for practical experience to bolster their applications. After qualification,
work experience placements are useful for getting a foot in the door of the industry -
and developing network contacts.


Conventional design Method:

∑ Conventional building method also refers to the traditional method

of construction where the construction knowledge is passed from one generation
to the other Associated to the wet construction (in-situ) using reinforced
∑ The process includes the components of the building that are pre-fabricated on
site through the processes or timber or plywood formwork installation, steel
reinforcement and cast in-situ.
∑ Conventional building is, mostly built of reinforced concrete frames.
∑ The traditional construction method uses wooden formwork. It is much more
costly for construction, which includes labor, raw material, transportation and
low speed of construction time

Seismic Design Method:

For a building to perform satisfactorily during earthquakes, it must meet the

philosophy of earthquake-resistant design:

The seismic design philosophy may be summarized as follows (Figure 1):

(a) Under minor but frequent shaking, the main members of the building that carry
vertical and horizontal forces should not be damaged; however building parts
that do not carry load may sustain repairable damage.
(b) Under moderate but occasional shaking, the main members may sustain
repairable damage, while the other parts of the building may be damaged such
that they may even have to be replaced after the earthquake; and

(c) Under strong but rare shaking, the main members may sustain severe (even
irreparable) damage, but the building should not collapse.

Seismic design is a specific area of architecture dedicated to the structural analysis of

buildings, bridges, and roads, with the aim of making them resistant to earthquakes
and other seismic activity. Its ethical goal is the protection of the occupants and users of
these structures.

Seismic Designing

ÿ Planning stage

∑ Plan building in symmetrical way (both axis)

∑ Avoid weak storey and provide strong diaphragm

∑ Don’t add appendages which will create difference in Centre of mass and
centre of rigidity

∑ Conduct soil test to avoid soil liquefaction

∑ Steel to be used of having elongation of 14% and yield strength of 415


ÿ Design stage

∑ Avoid weak column and strong beam design.

∑ Provide thick slab which will help as a rigid diaphragm. Avoid thin slab
and flat slab construction.

∑ Provide cross walls which will stiffen the structures in a symmetric


∑ Provide shear walls in a symmetrical fashion. It should be in outer

boundary to have large lever arm to resist the EQ forces.

ÿ Construction stage

∑ Compact the concrete by means of needle vibrator.

∑ Cure the concrete for at least a minimum period.

∑ Experienced supervisor should be employed to have good quality control

at site

Some of the Comparison between Conventional and seismic designs are:

∑ Conventional design using the routine design codes (meant for design against
non-earthquake effects), designers may not be able to achieve a ductile structure.
Special design provisions are required to help designers improve the ductility of
the structure. Such provisions are usually put together in the form of a special
seismic design code, e.g., IS: 13920-1993 for RC structures IS 1893:2002 These
codes also ensure that adequate ductility is provided in the members where
damage is expected.
∑ Apart from conventional design, buildings should be designed in ductile manner
in case of seismic design. The correct building components need to be made
ductile. The failure of a column can affect the stability of the whole building, but
the failure of a beam causes localized effect. Therefore, it is better to make beams
to be the ductile weak links than columns. This method of designing RC
buildings is called the strong-column weak-beam design method
∑ Walls or columns are the most critical elements in transferring the inertia forces.
But, in conventional construction, floor slabs and beams receive more care and
attention during design and construction, than walls and columns. Walls are

relatively thin and often made of brittle material like masonry. They are poor in
carrying horizontal earthquake inertia forces along the direction of their
∑ For seismic design the minimum dimension of column provided is 300mm where
as for conventional design the dimension of column less than 300 mm is also
∑ Seismic design code suggested providing at least two bars go through the full
length of the beam at the top as well as the bottom of the beam where as in
conventional design the requirement of bars in top and bottom depends on its
∑ According to seismic design, for Beam Column Joint Use large column sizes is
the most effective way and also provide closely spaced closed-loop steel ties
around column bars to hold together concrete in joint region and to resist shear
forces. Intermediate column bars also are effective in confining the joint concrete
and resisting horizontal shear forces
∑ Seismic design suggested that for masonry structures box type structure should
be adopted and proper bands like plinth band, lintel band and roof band should
be provided. Also vertical reinforcement bars should be embedded in the edges
of the wall piers and anchoring them in the foundation at the bottom and in the
roof band at the top, so that it forces the slender masonry piers to undergo
bending instead of rocking.


Causes of Earthquake:

Earthquakes are caused by disturbances in the interior of the earth and other causes.

1. Tectonic Movements: The disturbances inside the earth are called tectonic
movements. These forces bring about changes on the earth surface and physical
features like mountains, plateaus and rift valleys are formed. Most disastrous
earthquakes are caused by tectonic forces .Tectonic forces create tension and
pressure and the stress begins to build up inside the earth. When the stress tends to
be more than what the rocks of the earth can bear, the rocks are broken and
displaced from their state of equilibrium. It is known as faulting. The energy
accumulated during faulting is released. This release of energy gives rise to mighty

waves. These waves originate from a point called Focus in the interior of the earth
and then spread out in all directions. On the surface whatever comes into their
contact begins to vibrate.
2. Volcanic Eruptions: The volcanic eruptions are often very violent and cause
vibrations in the earth crust. Sometimes the vent of a volcano is blocked
temporarily and explosive eruption takes place suddenly causing tremors in the
earth crust. The Krakatoa that erupted in 1883 became the cause of a violent
earthquake there.
3. Other Reasons: The roofs of underground caves sometimes give way and release
great force to cause minor tremors in the earth crust.Nuclear explosions also release
massive energy to cause tremors in the earth crust.

An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault. The tectonic plates are always
slowly moving, but they get stuck at their edges due to friction. When the stress on the
edge overcomes the friction, there is an earthquake that releases energy in waves that
travel through the earth's crust and cause the shaking that we feel.

Tectonic plates are made of elastic but brittle rocky material. And so, elastic strain
energy is stored in them during the relative deformations that occur due to the gigantic
tectonic plate actions taking place in the Earth. But, when the rocky material along the
interface of the plates in the Earth’s Crust reaches its strength, it fractures and a sudden
movement takes place there, the interface between the plates where the movement has
taken place (called the fault) suddenly slips and releases the large elastic strain energy
stored in the rocks at the interface.
The sudden slip at the fault causes the earthquake, a violent shaking of the Earth during
which large elastic strain energy released spreads out in the form of seismic waves that
travel through the body and along the surface of the Earth. And, after the earthquake is
over, the process of strain build-up at this modified interface between the tectonic plates
starts all over again. Earth scientists know this as the Elastic Rebound Theory.

Fig. Type of Faults

Social Consequences of earthquake

• Short term (immediate) impact
¸ People may be killed or injured
¸ Homes may be destroyed
¸ Transport and communication links may be disrupted
¸ Water pipes may burst and water supplies may be contaminated

• Long term impact

¸ Disease may spread
¸ People may have to be re-housed, sometimes in refugee camps

Economic consequences of earthquake

• Short term (immediate) impact
¸ Shops and business may be destroyed
¸ Looting may take place
¸ The damage to transport and communication links can make trade difficult

• Long term impact

¸ The cost of rebuilding a settlement is high
¸ Investment in the area may be focused only on repairing the damage caused by
the earthquake
¸ Income could be lost

Environmental Impact

∑ Short term impact

¸ The built landscape may be destroyed.
¸ Fires can spread due to gas pipe explosions
¸ Fires can damage areas of woodland.
¸ Landslides may occur
¸ Tsunamis may cause flooding in coastal areas

∑ Long term Impact

¸ Important natural and human landmarks may be lost

Some of the biggest effects a nation might experience are explained below:

∑ Reduction in Tourism
Whenever a natural disaster hits a place, it has a lot of negative effects. One of the major
negative effects is that there is a reduction of tourism in the area. People are more
cautious to go and visit an area that’s recently become the victim of a natural disaster.
This counteracts the recent surge in online travel and takes business away from the
country. This is human nature. It’s the self-preservation instinct many of us have
kicking in.

If a town, city or country has recently experienced an earthquake or severe flooding it

might put people off wanting to visit. Tourists may worry about being caught up in the
disaster if they travel there. This is bad for a lot of places that rely on tourism to boost
their economy.

∑ Cost for Repair and Treatment

Any time a natural disaster hits there’s damage to infrastructure and people in the
immediate areas. The problem is that it’s then a big job to repair all the damage, not to
mention the costs. It’s not always possible to rescue people, repair damage and restore
the property on your own. Sometimes it’s necessary to bring in a leader in disaster
recovery and property restoration to help. There’s a lot of work and cost to think about
and sometimes people’s lives are ruined, as a result.

∑ Likely to Happen Again

One of the most frustrating things about natural disasters is that there’s not a lot that
can be done to avoid them. Or is there? These days the problem with natural disasters is
that we can attribute human blame to them. This is even worse because it means they
shouldn’t be happening. Because humans interfere with the planet, it increases the
likelihood of natural disasters. And the trouble is the poorer areas will take the brunt of
it as they’re not equipped to cope with these kinds of things. This means that the cycle
is self-perpetuating and will most likely continue to happen.

∑ Financial Burden
The biggest issue with natural disasters is the financial effect they have on a nation’s
economy. Any time a natural disaster hits it can cause millions in damage and even
more to repair the wreckage. Indeed, The Actuary detailed how economic losses from
natural disasters cost $240 billion yearly. This is a staggering cost and can’t be good for
the economy of the nations affected. The problem is that the fallout from this is so costly
many countries fall into a spiral of debt having to get themselves back on track. This is
especially true of many Third World countries that don’t have the finances or
infrastructure to deal with it.


Study from Class Seminar (Various earthquake case studies in Global and Indian)

Observations from the past Indian earthquake case studies:

ß Earthquake have not occurred close to any mega cities in India

ß Earthquake mainly occurred in Indo-Gangetic belts which is very highly
ß Most of the multi storey buildings are either not designed and detailed

Damage Patterns:

ß Failure of infills or columns or beams

ß Spalling of concrete in column

ß Column damaged by cracking/buckling
ß Mostly damage occur in beam-column junctions
ß Failure of buildings resting on soft ground storey
ß Diagonal cracks on stones and bricks
ß Earthquake can cause landslides so that the buildings on slopes are damaged
ß Due to irregular wall heights on slopes rear wall failure seen in Kashmir
ß Deep cracks were seen in pavements
ß Due to large accumulation of clay at roofs of Latthur, heavy houses are collapsed
ß Pounding Effect in buildings
ß Liquefaction
ß Lifts and staircases were failed in Bhuj earthquake
ß Failure occurred due to the sudden change in mass and stiffness

Causes and Reason:

ß Main reason is that they do not follow the code of practice

ß Builder’s and Architects were unaware of any earthquake resistant provisions
ß Use of poor quality construction materials
ß Inadequate laying of reinforcement and detailing
ß Selection of wrong site for construction

Lessons learned:

ß Engineers and Architects should be aware of the latest codal provisions of

ß Layout of the building should be simple and there should not be sudden change
in mass or stiffness
ß Location of building, site selection should be based on local geology and subsoil
ß Proper detailing of beam column joints by providing adequate ductility and
ß Hard foundation is suitable for all types of buildings
ß Avoid heavy construction of roof like water tanks, swimming pools etc.
ß Avoid soft storey constructions


Fault Line:

Fault line is a break or fracture in the ground that occurs when the Earth's tectonic
plates move or shift and are areas where earthquakes are likely to occur. A break where
the Earth's tectonic plates shifted is a likely site of an earthquake.


The focus or hypocenter of an earthquake is where the earthquake originated from,

usually underground on the fault zone.

In other words, a hypocenter is the point of origin of an earthquake or a

subsurface nuclear explosion.

An earthquake's hypocenter is the position where the strain energy stored in the rock is
first released, marking the point where the fault begins to rupture. This occurs directly
beneath the epicenter, at a distance known as the focal or hypocentral depth.


The epicenter or epicentrum is the point on the Earth's surface that is directly above the
hypocenter or focus, the point where an earthquake or underground explosion

In seismology, the epicenter is the point on the Earth's surface directly above the point
where the fault begins to rupture, and in most cases, it is the area of greatest damage.
However, in larger events, the length of the fault rupture is much longer, and damage
can be spread across the rupture zone.

During an earthquake seismic

waves propagate spherically out from
the hypocenter.

Seismic shadowing occurs on the

opposite side of the Earth from the
earthquake epicenter because the
liquid outer
core refracts the longitudinal or
compressional (P-waves) while it
absorbs thetransverse or shear waves

both types of wave can be detected but, due to their different velocities and paths
through the Earth, they arrive at different times.

By measuring the time difference on any seismograph as well as the distance on a

travel-time graph at which the P-wave and S-wave have the same separation, geologists
can calculate the distance to the earthquake's epicenter. This distance is called
the epicentral distance, commonly measured in° (degrees) and denoted as Δ (delta) in

Focal Depth:

In seismology, the depth of focus or focal depth refers to the depth at which
an earthquake occurs.

Earthquakes occurring at a depth of less than 70 km are classified as shallow-focus
earthquakes, while those with a focal depth between 70 km - 300 km are commonly
termed mid-focus or intermediate-depth earthquakes.

In subduction zones, where older and colder oceanic crust descends beneath another
tectonic plate, deep-focus earthquakes may occur at much greater depths in the mantle,
ranging from 300 km up to 700 km.

Peak Ground Acceleration:

During an earthquake when the ground is shaking, it also experiences acceleration.

The peak acceleration is the largest increase in velocity recorded by a particular station
during an earthquake.

Peak ground acceleration (PGA) is equal to the maximum ground acceleration that
occurred during earthquake shaking at a location. PGA is equal to the amplitude of the
largest absolute acceleration recorded on an accelerogram at a site during a particular

Earthquake shaking generally occurs in all three directions. Therefore, PGA is often
split into the horizontal and vertical components.

Horizontal PGAs are generally larger than those in the vertical direction but this is not
always true, especially close to large earthquakes.

PGA is an important parameter (also known as an intensity measure) for engineering.

The design basis earthquake ground motion(DBEGM) is often defined in terms of PGA.

Unlike the Richter and moment magnitude scales, it is not a measure of the
total energy (magnitude, or size) of an earthquake, but rather of how hard the earth
shakes at a given geographic point.

In an earthquake, damage to buildings and infrastructure is related more closely to

ground motion, of which PGA is a measure, rather than the magnitude of the
earthquake itself. For moderate earthquakes, PGA is a reasonably good determinant of
damage; in severe earthquakes, damage is more often correlated with peak ground

ß The soils in our region are not all alike. In fact, they may even vary from front
yard to back yard of sites.
ß The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) has defined six
different soil and rock types based on their shear-wave velocity, in order to
determine amplification effects:

Type A, hard rock (igneous rock).

Type B, rock (volcanic rock).

Type C, very dense soil and soft rock (sandstone).

Type D, stiff soil (mud).

Type E, soft soil (artificial fill).

Type F, soils requiring site-specific evaluations.

Type A having the least amplification and Type E the most.

Factors affecting swelling and shrinking of clay soils:

*A clay soil won’t change its volume unless the water content changes.
*Structural damage may occur if the change in moisture content is
relatively rapid or if it affects only part of a building.

*Situations which may cause this are:

-change in sub-surface drainage (water leak due to burst) `
-localised drying of soil (due to plant growth)
-sudden change in water regime (removing trees which was sheltering soil and
keeping it dry)

Issues affecting soil:

The main factors affecting soil are the water and slope.

1. Flooding
2. Drainage

3. Soil Moisture
ß The level to which the soil is saturated with water may fluctuate by several feet
annually depending on soil, topography, and weather conditions.
ß Special care should be taken in lowering the water table under the basement
floor because unequal settlement of some soils, especially slow-draining silts and
clays, may cause the walls to crack.

4. Shrink-Swell Potential
ß Certain soils may cause structural damage to standard design houses due to their
high shrink-swell potential.
ß These soils create differential stresses as they go through wet and dry cycles, and
can actually buckle basement walls or crack foundations.
ß Reinforcement, proper backfilling, and other precautions can be taken.

5. Soil and Slope Stability

ß Ravines and streamside locations are attractive building sites to many for their
scenic value.
ß It should be understood that these are often sites of active erosion, and unstable
ß The impacts of building can accelerate soil movement down slope, and cause
serious damage to structures.
ß Such sites can require expensive building techniques, and are best avoided.
ß In addition, even level sites that are underlain by organic soils and some silts are
not stable construction sites.

6. Underground Utilities

While not a soil problem specifically, prospective owners should be made aware of any
pipelines, cables, or easements on the property.

7. Hydric Soils/Wetlands
ß These are soils which formed under saturated conditions and are often indicative
of wetlands.
ß Drainage improvements are required in support of buildings, roads, and other
ß Hydric soils are often organic (peat or muck) and not suitable construction
ß If the area qualifies as a wetland, then it is subject to federal regulation, and any
disturbance would require a permit from appropriate agencies.

Soil characteristics and earthquake:

Soil Flexibility

∑ Flexibility of soil on which buildings are founded greatly affects earthquake

behaviour of buildings.
∑ Besides, the choice of foundation system also contributes to overall response of

(a) Three types of soil (flexible, medium and stiff): Soil is considered to behave

(b) Three types of foundations (isolated footings, pile and raft)

By analysing buildings it can be concluded that:

(1) Buildings with isolated footings perform poorly when rested on flexible soil systems,
especially in high seismic zones, and hence, should be avoided. (Preferably, such
buildings should be rested on raft foundations.)

(2) Columns, and the building, are close to being hinged in flexible soils at the base.

(3) Large stresses are generated in soils at the windward and leeward edges of the
building, when buildings are subjected to large lateral forces, especially when the soil is

Stress contours in Soil when building on raft loaded laterally: As soil becomes stiffer,
the stresses in it increase; the deformed shape of the building changes at the base – it
changes from hinged to fixed condition.

Seismic Zonation
• Seismic Zonation may be termed as the geographic delineation of areas having
different potentials for hazardous effects from future earthquakes.

• Seismic zonation can be done at any scale, national, regional, local, or site.

• The term Zoning implies that the parameter or parameters that characterize the
hazard have a constant value in each zone.

• A seismic zone is a region in which the rate of seismic activity remains fairly

• Many nations have government agencies concerned with seismic activity. These
agencies use the data they collect about seismic activity to divide the nation into
various seismic zones.

• A number of different zoning systems are used, from numerical zones to colored
zones, with each number or color representing a different level of seismic

• A seismic zoning map for engineering use is a map that specifies the levels of
force or ground motions for earthquake-resistant design, and thus it differs from
a seismicity map, which provides only the occurrence of earthquake information.

• The task of seismic zoning is multidisciplinary and involves the best of input
from geologist, seismologist, geotechnical, earthquake and structural engineers

Need for Seismic Zonation

• These maps identify the regions of a country or province in which various

intensities of ground shaking may have occurred or may be anticipated.

• Seismic zoning is used to reduce the human and economic losses caused by
earthquakes, thereby enhancing Economic development and Political stability.

• Seismic zonation of vulnerable areas for bedrock motion thus becomes important
so that the planners and administrators can make use of it after applying
appropriate amplification factors to take into account the local soil conditions, for
better land use planning and safe development.

Types of Zonation

• Macro zonation

• Micro zonation

• Nano zonation

Macro zonation:

• For larger area like, zonation of country or continent macro level is adopted.

• Macro zonation is carried out considering the seismicity, geology in larger scales
without considering geotechnical aspects.

• Seismic macro zonation consists of dividing a national territory into several areas
indicating progressive levels of expected seismic intensity for different return

• These zones can be described in terms of expected intensity, peak ground

accelerations, or any other strong motion parameter.

• The number of zones into which a country is divided is fairly arbitrary.

• Scales for macro zonation usually used are more than 1:1,000,000

Micro zonation:

• It is a process that involves incorporation of geologic, seismologic and

geotechnical concerns into economically, sociologically and politically justifiable
and defensible land-use planning for earthquake effects so that architects and
engineers can site and design structures that will be less susceptible to damage
during major earthquakes.

• Micro zonation should provide general guidelines for the types of new structures
that are most suited to an area, and it should also provide information on the
relative damage potential of the existing structures in a region.

• It consists of mapping in detail all possible earthquake and earthquake induced

hazards. Micro zonation is subdivision of a region into zones that have relatively
similar exposure to various earthquake related effects.

Nano zonation :

• This map provides dominant period at any site within the city. The design
spectrum at each site is constructed using five parameters, all of which are
derived from the dominant period value.

• This has been possible by two factors:

1. The first is that local amplification is strongly governed by the very large
impedance contrast between a soft surficial layer and its substratum.

2. The second is the large number of strong motion stations that were installed after
the disastrous 1985 earthquake.

• Appealing as the “nanozonation” is, this approach is currently not feasible at

most cities.

• Nanozonation – it may be termed as rigorous zonation, where a very high and

very detailed level of zonation is required, for examples scales less than 1:5000.

• This level of zonation, requiring detailed site specific information, is generally

expensive, but for sites where hazard potential is considered very high, or
existing or proposed development is regarded as critical or of high value, this
level of investment may be warranted.

Macrozonation and Codal Provisions in India:

• The occurrence of earthquake in India is due to the drifting of the so called

Indian Plate. Whenever and wherever these plates slide against each other, a
tremendous amount of energy is released and causes the severe destruction.

• Indian earthquake problem cannot be overemphasized. More than about 60% of

the land area is considered prone to shaking of intensity VII and above (MMI

• In fact, the entire Himalayan belt is considered prone to great earthquakes of

magnitude exceeding 8.0, and in a short span of about 50 years, four such
earthquakes have occurred: 1897 Assam (M8.7), 1905 Kangra (M8.6), 1934 Bihar-
Nepal (M8.4), and 1950 Assam-Tibet (M8.7).

• The structures located in the seismic zones should be analyzed and designed for
the expected seismic force to minimize the structural damages from falling of
beams/columns and to protect lives and property.

• Indian sub-continent has been classified into five seismic zones as per IS1893-
1984. The increased seismic activity during the last two decades forced the
reclassification into four seismic zones as per IS 1893 (Part I): 2002.

• The main seismic code (IS: 1893-1962) has been revised in 1967, 1970, 1975, and
1984; its next revision is now in progress. The major modifications in this code

• The seismic zone map is revised with only four zones, instead of five zones. Zone
I has been merged into Zone II.

• The values of seismic e peak ground acceleration considering maximum

considered earthquake (Mc zone factors have been changed. These now reflect
more realistic values of effective) and service life of structure in each seismic