Soil Conditions and Building Damage in 1967 Caracas Earthquake

by H. Bolton Seed, Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA,
Robert V. Whitman, Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA,
Houshang Dezfulian, Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Tehran, Tehran, Iran,
Ricardo Dobry, Res. Assoc.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA,
Izzat M. Idriss, Asst. Res. Engr.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA, and Proj. Engr., Woodward-Lundgren & Assoc., Oakland, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 8, Pg. 787-806

Document Type: Journal Paper


Although the magnitude of the 1967 Caracas earthquake was only 6.4 and its epicenter was located about 35 miles from Caracas, the shaking caused the collapse of four 10-story to 12-story apartment buildings in Caracas, with a loss of over 200 lives, and the partial collapse (top 4 stories) of a 12-story building at Carabelleda. Detailed studies were made of the distribution of structural damage to buildings in different story height ranges, the depth and dynamic characteristics of soils throughout the area, and the response of typical soil deposits during the earthquake. Both empirical and analytical evidence indicate that the locations of zones of heavy damage may be attributed to unfavorable combinations of soil conditions and building characteristics which resulted in particularly strong response of the damaged structures. Of particular significance was the finding that recently developed analytical techniques can predict the general pattern of damage in the 1967 earthquake.

Subject Headings: Soil dynamics | Soil properties | Damage (structural) | Earthquakes | Soil analysis | Earthquake magnitude scale | Residential buildings | Empirical equations | Venezuela | South America

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