Improved computational methods for probabilistic liquefaction hazard analysis

Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
By:  and 



Current procedures for analysis of and design against liquefaction hazards focus primarily on the use of probabilistic ground motions at a single ground-shaking hazard level, with the cyclic loading represented by a peak ground acceleration (PGA) corresponding to a target return period and a single representative moment magnitude Mw. These parameters are typically used in conjunction with deterministic simplified procedures for estimating liquefaction triggering and consequences that largely neglect the considerable uncertainties inherent to liquefaction problems. Motivated by these limitations and the resulting inconsistencies in liquefaction design levels, early methods for probabilistic liquefaction hazard analysis (PLHA) were proposed that incorporate the full ground motion hazard space, integrated with probabilistic liquefaction triggering models. Such methods provide liquefaction factor of safety (FSL) hazard curves for standard penetration test (SPT) data. Recognizing the increased use of higher-resolution cone penetrometer test (CPT) data in engineering analysis and design and the potential computational challenges it presents, an expanded suite of probabilistic triggering models, and wider availability of more detailed seismic hazard data, an improved PLHA computational methodology is presented in this study. The methods described utilize the U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazard Model directly through web services to obtain PGA hazard and disaggregation calculations for any site and average shear wave velocity in the upper 30 m of the site (Vs30) in the conterminous United States, to reconstruct the PGA hazard space for use in PLHA calculations, and to employ array calculations for efficient liquefaction hazard curve estimates for the thousands of CPT measurements in a given profile. The framework presented here is modular in nature, and discussion on the use of alternative models and extension to probabilistic liquefaction consequence evaluation is presented. The importance of appropriate representation of probabilistic liquefaction model uncertainties is also highlighted, along with the impacts of different levels of uncertainty on the PLHA calculation. Finally, a potential roadmap for incorporation of the PLHA framework in seismic provisions is presented, with an illustration of how it can address current limitations and impacts in liquefaction hazard analysis and design.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Improved computational methods for probabilistic liquefaction hazard analysis
Series title Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
DOI 10.1016/j.soildyn.2023.108272
Volume 176
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center - Seismology / Geomagnetism
Description 108272, 11 p.
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details