Evaluation of liquefaction and re-liquefaction observed in Christchurch using CPT data

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Published 16 November 2013
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Evaluation of liquefaction and re-liquefaction observed in Christchurch using CPT data

The Canterbury region experienced widespread damage due to liquefaction induced by seismic shaking during the 4 September 2010 earthquake and the large aftershocks that followed, notably those that occurred on 22 February, 13 June and 23 December 2011. Following the 2010 earthquake, EQC directed a thorough investigation of the ground profile in Christchurch, and to date, more than 7500 cone penetration tests (CPT) have been performed in the region.

This paper presents the results of analyses which use a subset of the geotechnical database to evaluate the liquefaction process as well as the re-liquefaction that occurred following some of the major events in Christchurch. First, the applicability of existing CPT-based methods for evaluating liquefaction potential of Christchurch soils was investigated using three methods currently available. Next, the results of liquefaction potential evaluation were compared with the severity of observed damage, categorised in terms of the land damage grade developed from Tonkin & Taylor property inspections as well as from observed severity of liquefaction from aerial photography. For this purpose, the Liquefaction Potential Index (LPI) was used to represent the damage potential at each site. In addition, a comparison of the CPT-based strength profiles obtained before each of the major aftershocks was performed. The results suggest that the analysis of spatial and temporal variations of strength profiles gives a clear indication of the resulting liquefaction and re-liquefaction observed in Christchurch.

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ISSN 0111-9532