A review on SPT-based liquefaction potential evaluation to assess the possibility of performing a risk management

Document Type : Article


1 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Qom, Qom, Iran

2 Department of Engineering Geology, School of Geology, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Liquefaction is a serious natural hazard in susceptible regions which are prone to earthquakes. According to empirical and field studies, insufficiency of liquefaction assessment methods in determining liquefaction through clays and high prediction errors has caused an unceasing new development. In this article we present a comprehensive history review to organize literature on the liquefaction potential evaluation published prior to 2017. We consider deterministic approach based on SPT (Standard Penetration Test) records to create an appropriate connection between the different methods, facilitate reviewing the development of correlations in the past and current decades, assess both the cyclic stress and the flow liquefactions in a unified system, compile the latest research developments and identify the main sources as a database for the future investigators. The study attempts to assess cyclic stress method (1971) and Chinese criteria (1982) in evaluating the liquefaction potential and to discuss the insufficiencies of these methods with reference to the liquefactions caused by the Chi-chi (Taiwan) and Adapazari (Turkey) earthquakes in 1999. Besides, the absence of soil improvement on the basis of vulnerability and performance is identified as a research gap in this study.


Main Subjects

1. Finn, W.D.L. "State of the art geotechnical earthquake engineering practice", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 20, pp. 1-15 (2000).
2. Das, B.M. and Ramana, G.V., Principles of Soil Dynamics, Second Edition, CENGAGE Learning Publication, ISBN-13: 978-0-495-41134-5 (2010).
3. Bray, J.D. and Macedo, J. "6th Ishihara lecture: Simplified procedure for estimating liquefaction-induced building settlement", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 102, pp. 215-231 (2017).
4. Seed, H.B. and Idriss, I.M. "Simplified procedure for evaluating soil liquefaction potential", Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division, 97(SM9), Proc. Paper 8371, pp. 1249-1273 (1971).
5. Cetin, K.O., Seed, R.B., Kiureghian, A.D., Tokimatsu, K., Harder, L.F., Kayen, R.E., and Moss, E.S. "Standard penetration test-based probabilistic and deterministic assessment of seismic soil liquefaction potential", Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental
Engineering, 130(12), pp. 1314-1340 (2004).
6. Seed, H.B. and Idriss, I.M., Ground Motion and Soil Liquefaction During Earthquakes, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Oakland, Ca (1982).
7. Andrews, D.C.A. and Martin, G.R. "Criteria for liquefaction of silty soils", 12th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Proceedings, Auckland, New Zealand (2000).
8. Bray, J.D., Sancio, R.B., Durgunoglu, T., Onalp, A., Seed, R.B., Stewart, J.P., Youd, T.L., Baturay, M.L., Cetin, K.O., Christensen, C., Karadayilar, T., and Emrem, C. "Ground failure in Adapazari, Turkey. Proceedings of earthquake geotechnical engineering satellite conference of the XVth", International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Istanbul, Turkey, August 24-25 (2001).
9. Sancio, R.B., Bray, J.D., Stewart, J.P., Youd, T.L., Durgunoglu, H.T., Onalp, A., Seed, R.B., Christensen, C., Baturay, M.B., and Karadayilar, T. "Correlation between ground failure and soil conditions in Adapazari, Turkey", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 22, pp. 1093-1102 (2002).
10. Chu, D.B., Stewart, J.P., Lee, S., Tsai, J.S., Lin, P.S., Chu, L.B., Seed, R.B., Hsu, S.C., Yu, M.S., and Wang, M.C. "Documentation of soil conditions at liquefaction and non-liquefaction sites from 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquake", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 24, pp. 647-657 (2004).
11. Chang, M., Kuo, C.P., Shau, S.H., and Hsu, R.E."Comparison of SPT-N-based analysis methods in evaluation of liquefaction potential during the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan", Computers and Geotechnics, 38, pp. 393-406 (2011).
12. Tokimatsu, K., and Yoshimi, Y. "Empirical correlation of soil liquefaction based on SPT-N values and fines content", Soils and Foundations, 23(4), pp. 56-74 (1983).
13. Youd, T.L., Idriss, I.M., Andrus, R.D., et al. "Liquefaction resistance of soils: Summary report from the 1996 NCEER and 1998 NCEER/NSF workshops on evaluation liquefaction resistance of soils", Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 127(4) pp. 297-313 (1998).
14. Japan Rail Association (JRA) "Design code and explanations for roadway bridges", Part V, Seismic Resistance Design, Japan (1996).
15. Seed, R.B., Cetin, K.O., Moss, R.E.S., Kammerer, A.M., Wu, J., Pestana, J.M., Riemer, M.F., Sancio, R.B., Bray, J.D., Kayen, R.E., and Faris, A. "Recent advances in soil liquefaction engineering: A unified and consistent framework", 26th Annual ASCE Los Angeles Geotechnical Spring Seminar, Keynote Presentation, HMS. Queen Mary, Long Beach, California, Berkeley, Earthquake Engineering Research Center (EERC) (2003).
16. Sato, H., Nhan, T.T., and Matsuda, H. "Earthquake induced settlement of a clay layer", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 104, pp. 418-431 (2018).
17. Casagrande, A. "The structure of clay and its importance in foundation engineering", Contribution to Soil Mechanics, 1925-1940, Boston Society of Civil Engineering, pp. 257-276 (1932).
18. Castro, G. "Liquefaction of sands", Harvard Soil Mechanics Series, 81, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1969).
19. Ishihara, K. "Liquefaction and  flow failure during earthquakes: Thirty-third rankine lecture", Geotechnique, 43(3), pp. 351-415 (1993).
20. Robertson, P.K. and Wride, C.E. "Evaluating cyclic liquefaction potential using the cone penetration test", Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 35(3), pp. 442-459 (1998).
21. Javanmardi, Y., Imam, S.M.R., Pastor, M., and Manzanal, D. "A reference state curve to define the state of soils over a wide range of pressures and densities", Geotechnique, 68(2), pp. 95-106 (2018).
22. Andrus, R.D. and Stokoe, K.H. "Liquefaction resistance based on shear wave velocity", NCEER Workshop on Evaluation of Liquefaction Resistance of Soils, NCEER-97-0022 (1997).
23. Hynes, M.E., Olsen, R., and Yule, D.E. "Influence of confining stress on liquefaction resistance", Proc, International Symposium on the Physics and Mechanics of Liquefaction, Balkema, pp. 145-152 (1998).
24. Bay, J.A. and Cox, B.R. "Shear wave velocity profiling and liquefaction assessment of sites shaken by the 1999 Kocaeli", Turkey Earthquake, PEER project SA3017- 18336 (2001).
25. Idriss, I.M. and Boulanger, R.W. "Semi-empirical procedures for evaluating liquefaction potential during earthquakes", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 26, pp. 115-130 (2006).
26. Boulanger, R.W. "High overburden stress effects in liquefaction analysis", Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 129(12), pp. 1071-1082 (2003).
27. Boulanger, R.W. and Idriss, I.M. "State normalization of penetration resistance and the effect of overburden stress on liquefaction resistance", 11th International Conference on Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA (2004).
28. Seed, H.B., Tokimatsu, K., Harder, L.F., and Chung, R.M. "The influence of SPT procedures in soil liquefaction resistance evaluations", Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, ASCE, 111(12), pp. 1425-1445 (1985).
29. Gratchev, I.B., Sassa, K., Osipov, V.I., and Sokolov, V.N. "The liquefaction of clayey soils under cyclic loading", Engineering Geology, 86, pp. 70-84 (2006).
30. Idriss, I.M. and Boulanger, R.W. "Evaluating of cyclic softening in silts and clays", Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 133(6), pp. 641-652 (2015).
31. Seed, H.B. "Earthquake-resistance design of earth dams", Proc., Symp. Seismic Design of Earth Dams and Caverns, ASCE, New York, pp. 41-64 (1983).
32. Seed, H.B. and Harder, L.F. "SPT-based analysis of cyclic pore pressure generation and undrained residual strength", Proceedings, Seed Memorial Symposium, Vancouver, BiTech Publishers, pp. 351-376 (1990).
33. Finn, W.D.L. "State of the art for the evaluation of seismic liquefaction potential", Computers and Geotechnics, 29, pp. 329-341 (2002).
34. Boulanger, R.W. and Idriss, I.M. "Evaluation of cyclic softening in silts and clays", Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 33(6), pp. 641-652 (2007).
35. Kishida, T. and Tsai, C. "Seismic demand of the liquefaction potential with equivalent number of cycles for probabilistic seismic hazard analysis", Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 140(3), 04013023 (2014). DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001033.
36. Boulanger, R.W. and Idriss, I.M. "Magnitude scaling factors in liquefaction triggering procedures", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 79, pp. 296- 303 (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.soildyn.2015.01.004.
37. Idriss, I.M. and Boulanger, R.W., Soil Liquefaction During Earthquakes, EERI Publication, Monograph MNO-12 Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Oakland (2008).
38. Kondoh, M., Sasaki, Y., and Matsumoto, H. "Effect of fines contents on soil liquefaction strength (Part 1)", Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, Public Works Research Institute, Ministry of Construction, Tsukuba, Japan (1987).
39. Liao, S.S.C. and Whitman, R.V. "Overburden correction factor for SPT in sand", Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 112(4), pp. 373-377 (1986).
40. Idriss, I.M. "An update to the Seed-Idriss simplified procedure for evaluating liquefaction potential", Proceedings of TRB Workshop on New Approaches to Liquefaction, Publication No. FHWA-RD-99-165, Federal Highway Administration, Washington DC (1999).
41. Andrus, R.D., Piratheepan, P., Ellis, B.S., Zhang, J., and Juang, C.H. "Comparing liquefaction evaluation methods using penetration-Vs relationships", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 24, pp. 713-721 (2004).
42. Idriss, I.M. and Boulanger, R.W. "SPT- and CPTbased relationships for the residual shear strength of liquefied soils", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 68, pp. 57-68 (2014).
43. Cao, Z., Youd, T.L., and Yuan, X. "Chinese dynamic penetration test for liquefaction evaluation in gravelly soils", Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 139(8), pp. 1320-1333 (2013).
44. Kim, J., Kawai, T., Kazama, M., and Mori, T. "Density index for estimating the postliquefaction volumetric strain of silty soils", International Journal of Geomechanics, 16(5), C4015005 (2016). DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GM.1943-5622.0000574.
45. Dewoolkar, M., Hargy, J., Anderson, I., Alba, P.D., and Olson, S.M. "Residual and postliquefaction strength of a liquefiable sand", Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental  Engineering, 142(2), 04015068 (2015). DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001374.
46. Ishihara, K., Harada, K., Lee, W.F., Chan, C.C., and Safiullah, A.M.M. "Post-liquefaction settlement analysis based on the volume change characteristics of undisturbed and reconstituted samples", Soils and Foundations, 56(3), pp. 533-546 (2016).
47. Kim, J., Kawai, T., and Kazama, M. "Laboratory testing procedure to assess post-liquefaction deformation potential", Soils and Foundation, 57, pp. 905-919 (2017).
48. Kramer, S.L., Sideras, S.S., and Greenfield, M.W. "The timing of liquefaction and its utility in liquefaction hazard evaluation", Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 91(C), pp. 133-146 (2016). DOI:10.1016/j.soildyn.2016.07.025.
49. CSA (Canadian Standard Association), Risk Management: Guideline for Decision-Makers (CAN/CSAQ850- 97), Rexdale, Ontario: Canadian Standard Association (1997).
50. Vahdat, K., Smith, N.J., and Amiri, G.G. "Fuzzy multicriteria for developing a risk management system in seismically prone area", Socia-Economic Planning Sciences, 48, pp. 235-248 (2014).
51. Baker, J.W. and Faber, M.H. "Liquefaction risk assessment using geostatistics to account for soil special variability", Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 134(1), pp. 14-23 (2008).
52. Kramer, S.L. and Mayfield, R.T. "Performance-based liquefaction hazard evaluation", Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics, Geo-Frontiers Congress, January 24-26, Austin, Texas, United States (2005). DOI: 10.1061/40779(158)21.