Settlement of Dry Sands during Earthquakes

by H. Bolton Seed, Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA,
Marshall L. Silver, Asst. Prof. of Materials Engrg.; Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Chicago, IL,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 4, Pg. 381-397

Document Type: Journal Paper


A method of analysis is presented for evaluating the settlement of dry sand deposits during earthquakes, taking into account the initial density of the deposit, the initial stress conditions and the intensity and duration of the earthquake motions. It is based on a determination of the shear strains induced in the deposit during an earthquake by means of ground response analyses and an evaluation of the resulting settlements of the deposit determined by simple shear tests conducted under cyclic loading. It is shown that although the range of settlements for the various soil layers varied between 2% and 0.025% of the layer thickness, the overall degree of agreement was reasonably good in all cases. It is concluded that the proposed procedure might be used as a first approximation for evaluating the volume change tendencies and the ground surface settlements induced in dry or moist cohesionless soils due to earthquake shaking.

Subject Headings: Soil settlement | Shear tests | Sandy soils | Earthquakes | Cohesionless soils | Stress analysis | Soil analysis | Load tests

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