Numerical modeling of liquefaction and comparison with centrifuge tests

Peter M. Byrne, Sung Sik Park, Michael Beaty, Michael Sharp, Lenart Gonzales, Tarek Abdoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prediction of liquefaction and resulting displacements is a major concern for earth structures located in regions of moderate to high seismicity. Conventional procedures used to assess liquefaction commonly predict the triggering of liquefaction to depths of 50 m or more. Remediation to prevent or curtail liquefaction at these depths can be very expensive. Field experience during past earthquakes indicates that liquefaction has mainly occurred at depths less than about 15 m, and some recent dynamic centrifuge model testing initially appeared to confirm a depth or confining-stress limitation on the occurrence of liquefaction. Such a limitation on liquefaction could greatly reduce remediation costs. In this paper an effective stress numerical modeling procedure is used to assess these centrifuge tests. The results indicate that a lack of complete saturation and densification at depth arising from the application of the high-acceleration field are largely responsible for the apparent limitation on liquefaction at depth observed in some centrifuge tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-211
Number of pages19
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Depth limitation
  • Dynamic centrifuge modeling
  • Liquefaction
  • Numerical modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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