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Engineering Geophysics

Conference Paper · March 2016

DOI: 10.4133/SAGEEP.29-028


0 696

37 authors, including:

A. F. Mcclymont Ernst Niederleithinger

Advisian - Worley parsons Canada Services Ltd. Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung


Julio Cesar Galindo Guerreros Michael Mooney

University Medical Center Freiburg Colorado School of Mines


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Rajni Devi1
Rambhatla G. Sastry*1
1. Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India
Narendra K. Samadhiya2
2. Civil Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India
Corresponding author: *R.G. Sastry (e-mail: /
Soil liquefaction potential through low-resolution shear wave velocity (V s ) information
derived from Multi-channel analysis of shear waves (MASW) and Standard Penetration Test
(SPT) results of geotechnical engineering is a standard procedure. But such an estimate is
crude at shallow depths. So, we propose an alternate refined method based on combined use
of Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and SPT ‘N’ in a case study (Vigyan Kunj site,
IIT Roorkee campus, India), which shows that the site is having minimal soil liquefaction
hazard for an earthquake magnitude M w 7.5.
Combined Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and Induced polarization imaging (IPI) are
powerful effective non-invasive geoelectric tools for near surface investigations, which
includes subsurface soil and rock characterization in real-time (Panek et al., 2010; Batayneh
et al., 2002; Drahor et al., 2006; Hauck and Kneisel, 2006). Shear modulus (G) and shear
wave velocity (V s ) of near surface soil can be obtained through the dispersive characteristics
(MASW) of Rayleigh wave (Park et al., 1999; Xia et al., 1999; Kant, 2014; Satyam and Rao,
2010; Mohanty, 2001).
Geotechnical site characterization can be carried out using Standard Penetration Test (SPT)
and Cone Penetration Test (Murthy, 2008). However, their implementation at sites is both
expensive and time consuming. Some geophysical investigations have been tried for
Geotechnical sites characterization (Anbazhagan et al., 2013; Gautam et al., 2007; Sastry and
Gautam, 2013).
Liquefaction is defined as the granular material transformation 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 induces the tendency of granular materials to compact
when subjected to cyclic shear deformations due to earthquakes. Generally, cyclic shear
stresses could be estimated through simplified procedures (Seed and Idriss, 1971, 1983; Seed,
1979) or based upon results of a site response analysis. The cyclic shear resistance of soils
could be evaluated in the laboratory or based upon empirical relationships by using in-situ
material parameters e.g., SPT, CPT, or Vs (Finn et al. 1994; Seed et al.1985; Youd et al.,
Our study region in I.I.T Roorkee campus includes Vigyan Kunj site (Fig. 1), which is located
on a river terrace of the Solani River (Parkash et al., 2001) and it belongs to Indo-Gangetic
Alluvial Plains (IGP) in Uttarakhand State, India. IGP covers 2,50,000 sq. km extending
between the latitude 24o N to 30o N and longitude 77o E to
88o E. Approximately 200 million live in the IGP, which is one of the most
densely populated regions of India. Our study region is underlain by siliclastic and carbonate
rocks, thickness of which may reach an order of 4.5 km. Our geophysical and site
geotechnical investigations include resistivity, IP imaging and Standard Penetration Test
1) Estimation of Shear-wave velocity (V s ) from 2-D resistivity image data based on
experimental relationship given by Jones and Skibtizke (1956) for common soil types.
2) Computation of ‘N’- value from Shear wave velocity (V s ) based on regression
equation given by Maheshwari et al. 2010 for all soils types.
3) Estimation of cyclic stress ratio (CSR). It is the stress developed during earthquake of
magnitude, M w resulting in soil liquefaction and it is based on the simplified
procedure based on Seed and idriss (1971) equation.
𝑎𝑎 σ
CSR = 0.65 × 𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚𝑚 × σ vo ’ × 𝑟𝑟𝑑𝑑 (1)
𝑔𝑔 vo
where a max, the peak horizontal acceleration at the ground surface generated by an
earthquake; g, acceleration due to gravity; σ vo and σ vo’ are total and effective vertical
over burden stresses, respectively; and r d, stress reduction coefficient. a max is R

estimated using Boore et al. 1993 relation.

4) Computation of (N 1 ) 60cs (for equivalent clean sand condition) from (N 1 ) 60 (statistical
value of N after all corrections) based on following relationship:
(N1) 60cs = α+ β(N1) 60 (2)

where α and β are coefficients based on FC (fines content) determined from the
following conditional relationships:

Case: 1
α = 0 for FC≤5% (3a)
β = 1.0 for FC ≤5% (3b)

Case: 2
α = exp [1.76 - (190/FC)] for 5% < FC < 35% (4a)
β = [0.99 + (FC1.5 /1,000)] for 5% < FC < 35% (4b)
Case: 3
α = 5.0 for FC ≥ 35% (5a)
β = 1.2 for FC ≤ 35% (5b)
5) Computation of cyclic resistance ratio (CRR) based on corrected “N” (for Clean sand
condition), (N 1 ) 60

𝟏𝟏 (𝑵𝑵𝑵𝑵)𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔 𝟓𝟓𝟓𝟓 𝟏𝟏
CRR 7.5 = 𝟑𝟑𝟑𝟑−(𝑵𝑵𝑵𝑵) + + [𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏∙𝟎𝟎(𝑵𝑵𝑵𝑵) − 𝟐𝟐𝟐𝟐𝟐𝟐 (6)
𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔 𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏𝟏 𝟔𝟔𝟔𝟔 +𝟒𝟒𝟒𝟒]𝟐𝟐

6) Computation of factor of safety (FS) for soil liquefaction based on ratio of stresses,
(CRR/CSR) as
× 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 (7)
The magnitude- Scaling factor (Seed and Idriss, 1983) for the an earthquake of magnitude,
Mw < 7.5 is given by
10 2.24
MSF = 𝑀𝑀𝑀𝑀 2.76 (8)
By using a 48-electrode resistivity and IP chargeability imaging equipment (SYSCAL Jr.
PRO, IRIS make), geo-electric data is gathered with a Wenner–Schlumberger electrode
configuration of two meter inter-electrode separation along profiles AB, CD and EF (Fig. 1).
Apparent resistivity data are inverted using Loke & Barker’s (1995) inversion algorithm to
yield ERT sections along profiles, AB, CD and EF (Figs. 2a, 2b and 2c) .

Fig.1. Geophysical and geotechnical site investigation at Vigyan Kunj site (Encircled) on I.I.T
Roorkee Campus, Roorkee, India.
Figures 2 shows true resistivity section obtained after inverting ERT section. As per outlined
methodology, inferred safety factor (FS) section is shown in Fig. 3.

Fig. 2 True resistivity section at Vigyan Kunj site, IIT Roorkee Campus, India
As ERT reflects near-surface resistivity inhomogenities with a high resolution, we expect that
our soil liquefaction sections could be of higher resolution than that of MASW derived ones.
We have independently derived a regression equation for our campus by relating resistivity
with Vs through MASW results (Srivasatava et al. 2015; Srivastava et al. 2015) for four ERT
sites (not included here) on our campus.

Fig. 3 Safety factor section for soil liquefaction assessment at Vigyan Kunj site.
We have designed a methodology for assessing soil liquefaction potential of a site based on
ERT section as better alternative to current MASW based one. We have demonstrated our
methodology successfully in a case study. Obtained results indicate our reported sites is free
from soil liquefaction hazard (FS>1.0) for future earthquakes of magnitude Mw ≤ 7.5.
Our ERT based method offers higher depth resolution in soil liquefaction potential section.
Our designed methodology is general enough to accommodate any developed site-specific
regression relations connecting resistivity with shear wave velocity (Vs) and SPT N, thereby
estimating FS sections.
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First author is thankful to Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government
of India for research fellowship support.

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