CPT-based probabilistic liquefaction assessment considering soil spatial variability, interpolation uncertainty and model uncertainty

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Original languageEnglish
Article number104504
Journal / PublicationComputers and Geotechnics
Online published22 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


In engineering practice, simplified procedure based on cone penetration test (CPT) results is widely used for evaluating soil liquefaction potential. Since the CPT-based simplified procedure was developed from observations during past earthquakes, it is semi-empirical and involves significant uncertainty (e.g., model uncertainty). In addition, due to time, budget and access constraints, CPTs are often sparsely conducted at a specific site, leading to a significant uncertainty associated with interpolation of the limited CPT soundings, particularly along horizontal direction. Furthermore, it is well-recognized that spatial variability of soil properties has a remarkable effect on soil liquefaction. All these variability and uncertainties greatly affect the seismic liquefaction assessment results, particularly spatial distribution of liquefiable soils in a site, and liquefaction-induced damage. This underscores a question of how to properly incorporate these variability and uncertainties in liquefaction assessment, e.g., how to characterize spatial distribution of soil liquefaction potential in a site with quantitative consideration of the abovementioned variability and uncertainty. To address this issue, this paper develops a novel probabilistic method for characterizing spatial distribution of soil liquefaction potential through factor of safety, FS against liquefaction in a vertical cross-section using Bayesian compressive sampling and Monte Carlo simulation. Using the proposed method, many random field samples of FS cross-section are obtained directly from limited CPT measurements. The proposed method is illustrated using both a simulated data example and a set of real CPT data from Christchurch, New Zealand. It is shown that the proposed method performs well and provides reasonable liquefaction assessment results.

Research Area(s)

  • Compressive sensing, Cone penetration test, Liquefaction, Monte Carlo simulation, Spatial variability