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16-GEOTECHNICAL EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING

Dr. T.G. SITHARAM Ph.D.(Canada), FIGS, FIE,


Chairman, centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation
and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) and Professor of Geotechnical
Engineering,Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute
of Science, Bangalore
Dr. T. G. Sitharam has obtained his BE(Civil Engg) from Mysore
university in 1984, Masters from IISc, Bangalore in 1986 and Ph.D.
from University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 1991.
Further he was a post doctoral researcher at University of Texas at
Austin, Texas, USA until 1994. Presently he is a Chairman of CiSTUP
and professor in Civil Engineering at Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore. He is an emerging national and international leader in the
area of soil dynamics and earthquake geotechnical engineering. His
research work on evaluation of dynamic properties of soils, liquefaction
behavior of Indian soils, regional seismicity, site response and seismic
microzonation of Bangalore city are very significant contributions to
the country. He was responsible for the indigenous development of
state-of-the-art cyclic triaxial testing, piezo vibro cone system with a
large calibration chamber, shake table facility and development of
Laminar box. He has successfully completed several sponsored
research projects to the tune of 3 crore Rupees. He has more than 70
International/national journal publications and 130 International and
national conference papers. He is an active member of the task
committee on microzonation of Bangalore city set up by Seismology
Division of Department of Science and Technology (DST). Further
recognizing his contribution to this area, he has been inducted as
member of Programme Advisory and Monitoring Committee (PAMC) for
the nationally coordinated programme on Seismicity by DST, Govt of
India. He is an Chief Editor of International geotechnical Earthquake
Engineering (IJGEE) published IGI Global, PA, USA. He is also an
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Associate Editor (AE) for ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering,


USA for the period 2006-2007 and also Member, Committee on Soils
and Rock Instrumentation (AFS20), Transportation Research Board of
the National Academies, Division of National research Council (NRC),
USA for the period 2007-2009. He was a member of TC 29 Laboratory
Stress Strain Strength Testing of Geomaterials, International Society
of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) for the year
2001-2005. Professor Sitharam has guided 16 Ph.D students, 3
MSc(Engg) students and several ME project students. Currently he has
7 doctoral students working under him. He has written two text books
one on Applied Elasticity and one on Soil mechanics and Foundation
Engineering, and also guest edited a volume on Geotechnics and
earthquake hazards for Current Science. He is an excellent consultant
and has carried out more than 50 projects related to specialized
geotechnical investigations (measurement of dynamic properties and
vibration isolation), slope stability in rocks and soils, underground
spaces in rocks/soils and design of earth dams and tailing ponds for
ash and redmud including ground improvement. He is a recipient "Sir
C.V. Raman State Award for Young Scientists, Government of
Karnataka, the
year 2002 in recognition and appreciation of
exceptional contributions to
Engineering Sciences awarded
in
October 2004. He is also the recipient of 1998 S.P. Research award
(SAARC) for the contribution in geotechnical engineering. He is
recipient of several best paper awards from Indian Geotechnical
Society, Indian Society for Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling Technology,
and CBIP, etc. Recognition of his work has led him to an invitation to
hold visiting Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Yamaguchi
University, Ube, Japan for one year 1999-2000. He was a visiting
professor at Technical University of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Canada and
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario. Recently he visited
University of Oxford, UK and University of Leeds, UK for research
interactions. He has delivered lectures invited / keynote lectures and
also chaired/co-chaired technical sessions in several International /
national conferences. He is a fellow of Indian Geotechnical society and
fellow of Institution of engineers (India). He is presently the Chairman
of the Karnataka Geotechnical Center of Indian Geotechnical Society.
Prof. Sitharam is a life member of several professional organizations
like ISRM, ISRMTT, IGS, Institution of engineers, etc.,

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GEOTECHNICAL EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING AN OVER VIEW


T.G. Sitharam,
Professor,
Department of Civil Engineering,
Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
email - sitharam@civil.iisc.ernet.in,

K.S. Vipin,
Research scholar,
Department of Civil Engineering,
Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
email - ks.vipin@gmail.com,

Abstract
The natural hazards like earthquakes can neither be predicted nor be
prevented. The only possible bay is to mitigate the seismic hazard. Till
now lots of research has gone into identifying the source mechanism
and analysis of wave propogation in seismic bed rocks. However, when
these seismic waves travel through the overlying soil its properties will
get modified. There has not been much attention given to these
aspects of seismic hazard analysis. However in the recent decades lots
of research work was done in the area and it has led to a new branch
in engineering Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. This paper
presents an over view of some of the aspects of earthquake
geotechnical engineering along with two case studies.
Introduction
Analysis of the past earthquake damages clearly shows that the
damages due to an earthquake and its severity are controlled mainly
by three factors i.e., earthquake source and path characteristics; local
geological and geotechnical characteristics; structural design and
construction features. Seismic ground response at a site is strongly
influenced by local geological and soil conditions. The exact
information of the geological, geomorphological and geotechnical data
along with seismotectonic details are necessary to evaluate the ground
response. The geometry of the subsoil structure, the soil type, the
lateral discontinuities and the surface topography will influence the site
response of a particular location. In order to get a better estimate of
these factors, the details of the soil profile have to be collected using
the geotechnical or geomorphological methods. The severe effects of
site amplification were reported during the Bhuj earthquake in 2001.
The two of the most important geotechnical aspects of seismic
hazard is the site response and liquefaction. When the seismic waves
pass through the overlying soil, it may get amplified or de-amplified.
This phenomenon is known as the site response. The term liquefaction
can be defined, in a broad manner, as the loss of strength of saturated
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sands due to the sudden increase in pore water pressure resulting


from dynamic loading. The devastating effects of liquefaction were first
observed during the Niigata and Alaska earthquakes in 1964. During
the last four decades, lots of research work were done to identify the
liquefaction susceptible areas and to develop different methods for
preventing liquefaction.
The following sections give a brief description of two of the seismic
hazard analysis in which the geotechnical aspects were given due
consideration. There has been quite a few microzonation works were
done in India during the last decade. But most of them did not give
the due importance for the geotechnical aspects of seismic hazard. The
exceptions are the microzonation works done for Bangalore and
Chennai.
Case study of Bangalore
It is well understood that there can be considerable variation in local
site conditions and hence the surface level spectral acceleration values
can be different from bed rock values. Generally local site conditions
are defined in terms of shear wave velocity. Thus for a specific site,
precise correction of the bedrock results will be possible only when soil
section data is available including variation of Vs with depth. The
widely followed method for classifying a site is the average shear wave
velocity in the top 30 m of a site commonly known as Vs30. This
parameter has been adopted by many building codes for classifying a
site for purposes of incorporating local site conditions in the estimation
of design ground motion. The site classification for Bangalore was done
according to NEHRP (BSSC, 2003) site classification methods. The
different site classes given by NEHRP are given in Table 1.
Table 7.4: Site classification as per NEHRP scheme. (BSSC,
2003)
NEHRP Site
Description
Vs30
Class
A
Hard rock
> 1500 m/s
B
Firm and hard rock
760 1500 m/s
C
Dense soil, soft rock
360 760 m/s
D
Stiff soil
180 360 m/s
E
Soft clays
< 180 m/s
Special study soils, eg.
liquefiable soils, sensitive
F
clays, organic soils, soft clays
> 36 m thick

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Development of Response Spectra


The response spectra values were developed for bedrock and site
classes A, B, C and D for Bangalore. The spectral acceleration values
were evaluated for a probability of exceedance (PE) of 10 % in 50
years (which corresponds to a return period of 475 years). These
values were evaluated by considering the amplification factor
equations given by Raghu Kanth and Iyengar (2007). The response
spectra developed for Bangalore for different site classes are shown in
Fig. 1. This figure clearly shows the variation of spectral acceleration
(Sa) values with site class and the shift in peak Sa values towards the
higher periods for softer soils.
0.45

Site Class D
Site Class C
Site Class B
Site Class A
Rock

0.40
0.35

Sa (g)

0.30
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00
0.00

0.25

0.50

0.75

1.00

1.25

1.50

1.75

2.00

Period of oscillation (Sec)

Fig. 1: Response spectra for Bangalore with a return period of


475 years
However such response spectrum will be of irregular shape and
these may not be useful for the design purposes. A design response
spectrum is a statistically smoothed response spectrum. The irregular
shape of the actual response spectrum (Fig. 1) makes it not suitable
for design applications. The smoothing of the response spectrum has
to be done based on the codal provisions for design purposes. The
design response spectrum developed based on the provisions given by
different codes, Eurocode-8 (2003) NEHRP (BSSC, 2003) and BIS1893(2002), for Bangalore are given here (Figs. 2 4).

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0.50

Site Class C
Site Class B

0.40

Site Class A
Sa (g)

0.30

0.20

0.10

0.00
0.00

0.25

0.50

0.75
1.00
1.25
Period of oscillation (Sec)

1.50

1.75

2.00

Fig. 2: Design response spectra for Bangalore based on


Eurocode-8
(Return period of 475 years)
0.5

Site Class D
Site Class C

0.4

Site Class B
Site Class A

Sa (g)

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0
0.00

0.25

0.50

0.75
1.00
1.25
Period of oscillation (Sec)

1.50

1.75

2.00

Fig. 3: Design response spectra for Bangalore based on


NEHRP provisions
(Return period of 475 years)

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0.5

Soft Soil
0.4

Medium Soil
Rock and Hard Soil

Sa (g)

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0
0.00

0.25

0.50

0.75
1.00
1.25
Period of oscillation (Sec)

1.50

1.75

2.00

Fig. 4: Design response spectra for Bangalore based on IS code


provisions
(Return period of 475 years)
Liquefaction Potential Evaluation
The liquefaction potential of Bangalore was evaluated using the SPT
data obtained from 450 boreholes. The method suggested by Kramer
and Mayfield (2007) was used for the liquefaction potential evaluation.
The contour curves showing the spatial variation of factors of safety
against liquefaction and (N1)60,cs required to prevent liquefaction for a
return period of 475 years at a depth of 3 m are shown in Figs. 5 & 6.
The factor of safety range of 0 1 indicate that these locations are
highly vulnerable to liquefaction; the range of 1 2 are moderately
vulnerable and the factor of safety higher than 2 indicate that these
locations are safe against liquefaction. The spatial variation of
corrected SPT values required to prevent liquefaction for a return
period of 475 years is shown in Fig. 6. For any location in Bangalore,
the corrected SPT data obtained from the field test is higher than the
values given in Fig. 6 then that location can be considered safe against
liquefaction for the given return period. A detailed description of this
method is available at Vipin et al. (2009).

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Fig. 5: Factor of safety against liquefaction for a return period


of 475 years at 3 m depth

Fig. 6: (N1)60,CS required to prevent liquefaction for a return


period of 475 years at 3 m depth
Case Study of South India
The seismic hazard analysis of South India was done using
probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) methodology and the
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peak horizontal acceleration (PHA) values at bed rock level were


obtained. Since it is practically impossible to evaluate the site class for
the entire south Indian region, the surface level PGA values were
evaluated based on the site classification scheme proposed by NEHRP
(BSSC, 2003). The PGA values obtained for site class C and D for a
return period of 475 years are given in Figs. 7 & 8. The PGA values
were evaluated for site class A and B also. However those results are
not presented in this paper.

Fig. 7: Spatial variation of probabilistic PGA (g) values for site


class C
(Return period 475 years)

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Fig. 8: Spatial variation of probabilistic PGA (g) values for site


class D
(Return period 475 years)
Concluding Remarks
This paper briefly describes the importance of geotechnical aspects in
the seismic hazard analysis. The two case studies presented here
highlight the importance of the soil properties in ground response
analysis. The surface level acceleration values are presented for two
site class for South India. A geotechnical test will indicate the site class
at a particular location and if the soil fall in any of the given site class,
then the PGA values can be obtained from the respective maps.
References
1.
BSSC (2003). NEHRP recommended provisions for seismic
regulations for new buildings and other structures (FEMA 450),
Part 1: Provisions, Building Seismic Safety Council for the
Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C.,
USA.
2.
BIS-1893 (2002). Indian Standard criteria for earthquake
resistant design of structures, Part 1 - General provisions and
buildings. Bureau of Indian Standards, New Delhi.
3.
Eurocode-8 (2003). BS-EN 1998-1, Design of structures for
earthquake resistance part 1: General rules, seismic actions
and
rules
for
buildings.
European
Committee
for
Standardization, Brussels.
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4.
5.
6.

Kramer, S.L., Mayfield, R.T. (2007). Return period of soil


liquefaction. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental
Engineering, 133(7), 802 - 813.
Raghu Kanth, S.T.G. and Iyengar, R.N. (2007). Estimation of
seismic spectral acceleration in Peninsular India. Journal of
Earth System Sciences, 116(3), 199 - 214.
Vipin, K.S., Sitharam, T.G. and Anbazhagan, P.
(2009).
Probabilistic evaluation of seismic soil liquefaction potential
based on SPT data. Natural Hazards, DOI 10.1007/s11069-0099447-3.

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