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Characteristics of Nonlinear Response of Deep Saturated Soil Deposits

Shean-Der Ni, Raj Siddharthan, & John G. Anderson

Published April 1997, SCEC Contribution #318

Recent EPRI seismic design guidelines call for dynamic soil properties (shear modulus ratio and damping) and liquefaction strength curves to be characterized as a function of the effective vertical stress (or depth). A modified version of the DESRA2 constitutive model for saturated soil has been applied to study the nonlinear seismic response including liquefaction of medium dense soil deposits of various thicknesses. The results of the stress-dependent soil properties model show lower deamplification and higher first-mode (resonant) frequency than that of the stress-independent soil properties model. By using the stress-dependent model with impulse base excitation, the nonlinear behavior of various soil deposits has been investigated under a variety of conditions. The results show that (1) the saturated soil deposit has a smaller surface amplitude and significantly lower resonant frequency than the unsaturated soil deposit of the same thickness; (2) for the saturated soil conditions, the larger the base excitation, the lower the surface amplification and the resonant frequency; (3) the deep soil deposits show lower surface amplification and resonant frequency compared to the response of shallow deposits; (4) when shallow and deep deposits are compared, the shallow deposits develop much higher residual pore-water pressure; and (5) the amplification and residual pore-water-pressure response of deposits deeper than 100 m or so are very similar. The application of the method has also been illustrated using a strong synthetic base excitation applied to the base at a site near Reno. The results in general are consistent with those computed using the impulse loading. The study reveals that the response predicted from the conventionally used stress-independent soil properties model is unconservative for deep deposit.

Ni, S., Siddharthan, R., & Anderson, J. G. (1997). Characteristics of Nonlinear Response of Deep Saturated Soil Deposits. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 87(2), 342-355.