Liquefaction Potential: Science Versus Practice

by Ralph B. Peck, (Hon.M.ASCE), Prof. of Foundation Engrg.; Emeritus, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.; also, Consulting Engr., Albuquerque, N.M.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 3, Pg. 393-398

Document Type: Journal Paper


Laboratory research and methods of analysis have been developed in the last decade for evaluation of liquefaction potential of saturated sands. The procedures have been widely adopted and sometimes required by regulatory agencies. No direct field evidence supports the validity of the procedures. Recent tests have suggested that factors not included in the test procedures may appreciably increase resistance to liquefaction. On the other hand, field data on liquefaction have been correlated with the standard penetration resistance. Use of these empirical correlations, although crude, would have led to better practice in the last decade than reliance only on the results of the scientific studies. Scientific results may be misleading unless adequately supported by field data.

Subject Headings: Soil liquefaction | Field tests | Saturated soils | Load and resistance factor design | Geotechnical data | Laboratory tests | Soil analysis | Empirical equations

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