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What is soil Liquefaction?

Group Members
Nouman Khadim Warraich
Mirza Farquleet Baig
Haider Ali Rafique

What Is Liquefaction

Liquefaction is the name given to

the process that converts a solid
soil mass into a liquid.

What is Soil Liquefaction

A phenomenon whereby a saturated or
partially saturatedsoilsubstantially loses
strength and
stiffnessin response to an appliedstress,
usually earthquake shaking or other sudden
change in stress condition, causing it to
behave like a liquid.

October 17, 1989Soil Liquefaction in the East Bay During the


When does it occurs

when theeffective stressof soil is reduced to
essentially zero, which corresponds to a complete loss
ofshear strength
May be initiated by
Monotonic Loading

Cyclic loading

When does it Occurs

Liquefaction occurring beneath buildings and other
structures can cause major damage during earthquakes.
Liquefaction occurs in cohesion less soils (typically those
with a higher content of larger grains such as sand sized)
which have water in the pore spaces, and are poorly

How It Works
When the seismic waves pass through the soil, the vibrations
cause the individual grains in the soil to
move around and
re-adjust their positions

This ultimately results in a decrease in volume of the soil

mass as
the grains pack more tightly together
a reduction in porosity

The pore water which was originally in those spaces

becomes compressed.
increase in pore water pressure).

The pore water pressure becomes so high, that the

soil grains become almost Floats
causing a significant drop in the shear strength


Liquefied soil, like water, cannot support the weight of whatever is

lying above it be it the surface layers of dry soil or the concrete floors
of buildings.

The liquefied soil under that weight is forced into any cracks and
crevasses it can find, including those in the dry soil above, or the cracks
between concrete slabs.

It flows out onto the surface as boils, sand volcanoes and rivers of silt. In
some cases the liquefied soil flowing up a crack can erode and widen the
crack to a size big enough to accommodate a car.

How to Identify?
There are a number of different ways to evaluate the
liquefaction susceptibility of a soil deposit.
Historical Criteria
Geological Criteria
Compositional Criteria

Historical Criteria
Observations from earlier earthquakes provide a great deal of
Soils that have liquefied in the past can liquefy again in future

If you are building a house and want to find out if your site is
susceptible to liquefaction, you could investigate previous
earthquakes to see if they caused liquefaction at your site.

Information is also available in the form of maps of areas where

liquefaction has occurred in the past and/or is expected to occur
in the future

Geological Criteria
The type of geologic process that created a soil deposit
has a strong influence on its liquefaction susceptibility.
Saturatedsoil deposits that have been created by
sedimentation in rivers and lakes (fluvial or alluvial deposits),
deposition of debris or eroded material (colluvial deposits),
or deposits formed by wind action (aeolian deposits)
can be very liquefaction susceptible.

Compositional Criteria
Liquefaction susceptibility depends on the soil type.

Clayey soil, particularly sensitive soils, may exhibit

strain-softening behavior similar to that of liquefied
soil, but do no liquefy in the same manner as sandy
soils are.

Compositional Criteria
Soils composed of particles that are all about the same
size are more susceptible to liquefaction than soils with
a wide range of particle sizes.

In a soil with many different size particles, the small

particles tend to fill in the voids between the bigger
particles thereby reducing the tendency for densification
and pore water pressure development when shaken.

Types of Failure
Cyclic Mobility
Sand Boiling

Cyclic Mobility

Deformations due to cyclic mobility develop incrementally because of

static and dynamic stresses that exist during an earthquake.

Lateral spreading, a common result of cyclic mobility, can occur on

gently sloping and on flat ground close to rivers and lakes.


Liquefaction can cause Overturning of large lateral loads on foundations.

Foundation must also be able to resist horizontal loads bending
moments induced andby lateral movements.

Liquefaction Damage: 1964 Niigata, Japan

Sand Boiling

A sand boil is sand and water that come out onto the ground surface
during an earthquake as a result ofliquefactionat shallow depth.

The Damage of Port Structures (at Kushiro Port)

After the earthquake

After the earthquake shaking has ceased, and liquefaction effects have
diminished (which may take several hours), the permanent effects

Lowering of ground levels where liquefaction and soil ejection has

occurred. Ground lowering may be sufficient to make the surface close
to or below the water table, creating ponds.

Disruption of ground due to lateral spreading.

During And After Earthquake


To minimize liquefaction, one successful approach id to lower into the

ground, a self digging apparatus till the desired depth is reached; then it
is set in motion vibrating the soil surrounding it. This consolidates the
sediment layer itself, and de-waters it up to the surface.

The ground surface will naturally alter during this process, and the
surface is graded to the desired contours, filled as necessary with
overburden, and smoothed off.

The equipment used at Pegasus Town north of Christchurch New

Zealand, originated from Bahrein, where presumably this is the
technique used to create the 'sand islands'. PAM JAMERA


Ambraseys, N., and Sarma, S. (1969). "Liquefaction of Soils Induced by

Earthquakes," Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 59(2), 651-664.

Arulanandan, K., Yogachandran, C., Muraleetharan, K. K., Kutter, B. L., and Chang,
G. S., (1988). "Laboratory Flow Slide During Earthquake Simulation, Centrifuge 88,
Corte, J.-F., ed., Paris, Balkema, Rotterdam, April, pp. 539-544.

Arulanandan, K. and Scott, R. F., Eds. (1993). "Verification of Numerical Procedures

for the Analysis of Soil Liquefaction Problems," Proc. of the Intl. Conference on the
Verification of Numerical Procedures for the Analysis of Soil Liquefaction

Problems, Davis, CA, Balkema Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands,

Any Question?