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16,985-1006 (1988)


N. N. AMBRASEYS AND J. M. MENU Imperial College o f Science and Technology, London, U.K.

The paper brings up to date and amplifies earlier work on earthquake-induced ground displacements using near-field strong-motion records, improved processing procedures and a homogenizing treatment of the seismological parameters. A review of upper bound limits to seismic displacements is given and a predictive procedure is examined that allows the probabilistic assessment of the likelihood of exceedance of predicted displacements to be made in the near field of earthquakes in the magnitude range 6.6 to 7.3. Using a considerable number of unscaled ground motions obtained at source distances of less than half of the source dimensions,graphs and formulae are derived that allow the assessment of permanent displacements of foundations and slopes as a function of the critical acceleration ratio.

Fracturing and cracking of level ground and of natural and man-made slopes caused by earthquakes is not an uncommon phenomenon. Comparatively long, open cracks, extending to some depth in flat or sloping ground, and compression ridges are features usually attributed to strong ground movements, strong enough to overcome the yield resistance of a soil mass and cause permanent deformations. These permanent displacements are produced because the material through which acceleration pulses have to travel before reaching the ground surface, be it alluvium or soft rock, has a finite strength, and stresses induced by strong earthquakes may bring about failure, with the result that accelerations, above a certain value in the frequency range of engineering interest, will be prevented from reaching the surface, and permanent deformations of the ground will occur. Field observations show that soils and soft rocks in a strong earthquake will distort and develop cracks and deformations; the real design problem is to determine how much such materials will deform and to establish what displacements or deformation are acceptable. The question of whether there is an upper bound for ground accelerations and of whether the associated permanent ground displacementscan be calculated is indeed of importance to the engineer. An early attempt to back-analyse the displacements observed in embankments and level ground affected by the Tokachi-Oki earthquake of 4 March 1952 was made by Ambraseys,' Figure 1, but the procedure for evaluating potential slope and ground deformationsdue to earthquake shaking was developed by Newmark.2 In this simple method it is assumed that slope or ground failure would be initiated and movements would begin to develop if the seismic forces on a potential slide mass were large enough to overcome the yield resistance and that movements would stop when the seismic forces were removed or reversed. Thus, by computing the acceleration at which yielding begins and summing up the displacementsduring the periods of instability, the final cumulative displacement of the slide mass can be evaluated. The calculation is based on the assumption that the whole moving mass is displaced as a single rigid body with resistance mobilised along a sliding surface. Newmark's sliding block method is based on the simple equation of rectilinear motion under the action of a time-dependent force involving a resistance that may or may not be dependent on other factors such as displacement, rate of slip, pore water pressure or heat. When the input inertia forces and the yield resistance can be determined, the method gives useful and realistic results. One of the earliest applications of the sliding block method, that gave consistent and sensible answers, was made for the assessment of the ground motions associated with the Skopje earthquake of 1963. A large number of displacements of different objects of known 'yield resistance' was used to estimate the predominant
009~8847/88/080985-22$11.00 0 1988 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Received 6 October 1987 Revised 16 February 1988



acceleration and periods of ground motion generated during the Skopje e a r t h q ~ a k e The . ~ method was recommended as a check for the earthquake resistance of earth dams and foundations? and was applied to a variety of soil mechanics and foundation problems in which assessment of permanent earthquake-induced displacements was Studies of the character of displacement induced by stochastic inputs were also published by, among others, Crandall et al.," Gazetas et ~ l . , ~ 'Ahmadi" and Constantinou and Tadjbak hsh.* In principle, the sliding block method is based on the time-history of the ground acceleration g(t) that controls inertia forces, and on two parameters: namely keg, the minimum ground acceleration required to bring about incipient failure of a slope or foundation, a parameter controlled by yield resistance, and k,g, the maximum acceleration of the ground-motion time-history (k,g = g(t),,,). The critical acceleration coefficient k , is a function of the geometry and soil properties of the sliding mass corresponding to a factor of safety of one (F= l), and in calculating k, for a given slip surface, the distortions within the mass, the pore water pressure changes from static to failure conditions, and changes in the geometry of the mass must be taken into account. The critical coefficient k , is the most appropriate measure of the resistance to sliding of a soil mass subjected to an earthquake, k, playing the same role in the sliding block method as the factor of safety F does in the limiting equilibrium method, the two coefficients being interrelated. , g and a potential slide Given a design earthquake ground-motion time-history g ( t ) of peak acceleration k mass in a foundation or slope material for which the horizontal acceleration required to cause failure under undrained conditions is k,g, it is possible, using a simple numerical model, to calculate the permanent


m -0

Figure l(a). Deformations ofembankmentscaused by the Tokachi-Okiearthquake of4 March 1952 in Japan (Report on the Tokaki-Oki earthquake, Publ. Special. Comm. Inves., Sapporo, 1954)



. -. --

_ / - -


Figure l(b). Deformations patterns produced by three shocks causing yielding (a, b and c) and final shape (d) after deformation of earth dam'

earthquake-induced displacement when k , >k,. Figures 2 and 3 describe briefly the sliding block method and Figure 4 shows a plot of the permanent displacements calculated for a variety of ground-motion timehistories recorded before 1972. Displacementsu in centimetres shown in this figure have been computed for an unsymmetrical yield resistance, that is we have allowed sliding only in one direction down-slope, and they are plotted as a function of the critical acceleration ratio k,/k,. The analysis was carried out with ground-motion time-histories not scaled to a constant acceleration and velocity, assuming a constant yield resistance during sliding expressed by the critical coefficient k,. The data points in this figure show a well-defined upper bound, and just as importantly, they exhibit a perfectly explained scatter below this upper limit, which is the result not only of the different energy content of the unscaled time-histories used, but also of directional and duration effects.The large dots in this figure show the data points from the three orthogonal components of ground motion produced at Pacoima by the SanFernando earthquake of 9 February 1971, and give some idea of the scatter due to directional effects. The upper bound of the plot is given by

kc log (u) = 2.3 - 3.3 kIn

where u is in centimetres, valid for down-slope displacements in the range 0.1 <kc/k,<0.8.6 Equation (1) may readily be used to assess the maximum permanent displacement of a slide mass of stable , g of materiai when its maximum resistance to sliding,expressed by k,, is exceeded by the peak acceleration k an earthquake time-history. Thus, if a slope shows F = 1 for, say, half as large an acceleration as its design value, i.e. k,/k, = 0.5, and also if the material loses little or no strength due to earthquake deformations, then from Figure 4, or equation (l), we find that for the strongest ground motions recorded before 1972, permanent




Figure 2. Application of simplified sliding block method for the stability analysis of slopes. (A) Forces acting on a slice Cl of a soil mass within the critical slip surface AB. AB is defined as the sliding surface between levels a-a and b-b that obtains for a factor of safety of one (F= I ) and also for the minimum horizontal acceleration k,g. The critical coefficient k , of the soil mass between these two levels is a ' , slope geometry and pore pressure changes due to the application of seismic forces function of the soil strength parameters c' and 6 causing failure, and it can be calculated using a standard stability analysis. (B) Vector diagram of forces at F = 1 for the critical slip surface AB. It should be noted that Figure B refers to the overall stability of the sliding mass within A-B (Figure A) for a factor of safety of one, and not of the sliding element Ci.Note that for dry, purely frictional materials B = 9 0 deg. For all other cases of practical interest 8 varies between 85 deg and 100 deg. (C)Sliding block model satisfying diagram (B). For k > k,, sliding takes place on a plane AB inclined to the horizontal by an angle B, defined in diagram (B). In its simplified version the model assumes that during deeoupling the mass moves progressively down the slip surface generated at F = 1 without any further change of the yield resistance. Resolving forces in the direction of sliding o-a, it can be shown that the equation of motion down-slope is given by
cos 6 '

cos (6'-B)


where u(t) is the displacement of the mass relative to the slip surface AB, x(t) = -g(t) is the absolute ground acceleration time-history, and k , is the critical acceleration of the mass, which is constant. If k , is the maximum horizontal ground acceleration [g(t)lmnX. a convienient way of expressing the results of the analysis for different ground motion time-histories would be in terms of the quantity.
U( = u

cos 9' cos(6' - B)cos B

and the critical acceleration ratio kJk,, where now displacements are measured in a horizontal direction. For a one-way, down-slope motion we may write ui= u,, and for a two-way, horizontal motion, i.e. for j = O , we may write ui=u2. Notice that for practical purposes, the multiplier of u may be taken equal to one.

displacements will be less than 5 cm. If, on the other hand, because of earthquake-induced stresses the soil loses part of its strength, say to a value as low as kc/k, = 0.1, the corresponding displacements would be almost one metre. An upper bound limit for displacement based on four strong earthquakes and several explosions was derived by S a ~ m a .l4 ~. The upper bound for the unsymmetrical displacement is given by log(&)=

1-07-3.83- k C

in which u, in centimetres, is the permanent displacement, T is the predominant half-period of the ground in seconds and C is a factor that depends on the slope and material properties of the sliding material. Charts for the evaluation of permanent displacements as a function of critical acceleration ratio for six real and one synthetic scaled ground motions have been presented by Makdisi and Seed,13 and, from a much larger body of scaled data, by Franklin and Chang."

EARTHQUAKE-INDUCED GROUND DISPLACEMENTS Parkfield Array 2 (N65E) Acceleration of Ground Kc/Km = 0.3



u u
Yield Index


. ,

Absolute Displacement of Block Figure 3. Ground acceleration time-history x(t)= -g(t) of one of the horizontal components of motion recorded at Parkfield, of maximum acceleration k,g =0.495g. If a sliding block system with a critical coefficient k, = 03k,(/3 = 15 deg and W = 32 deg) is subjected to the ground motion shown in A it will slide down-slope in two stages shown by the yield index in Figure B. The resulting absolute displacement of the block is shown in Figure C (continuous line) and the relative displacements between block and sliding surface is shown by the dashed time-history. In this case u, =20.3 cm and the actual displacement down the slope would be 22.9 cm

Figure 4. Data points and upper bound envelope (A-A) of permanent displacement for the unsymmetrical (one-way) case, u being the horizontal displacement in cm, plotted against critical acceleration ratio kJk, for natural earthquakes and explosions. The envelope is given by log (u) =2.3 -3.3 k,/k,. Large dots show displacements calculated for the three orthogonal components of ground acceleration recorded at Pacoima during the earthquake of 9 February 1971.



DATA AND ANALYSIS Since 1971, when equation (1) was first derived, additional strong-motion records have become available. The present study is made to investigate whether this additional body of data alters the upper bound defined by this equation, and also to develop a better correlation between permanent displacement and earthquake characteristics for near-field conditions. Referring to Figure 4, we notice that different ground motions may produce very different permanent displacements, varying by a factor of 25, and that this spread becomes larger as more data points are included in this plot, suggesting that the actual scatter is probably even larger than shown in Figure 4. However, it should be noted here that equation (1) in Figure 4 has been derived as an upper bound solution to a problem for which, because of the many variables which are not considered, a unique functional relationship between permanent displacement and critical acceleration ratio does not exist. These variables include the size of the earthquake in terms of its magnitude M , or M,, the source distance R, the duration of shaking D, the frequency at which the bulk of the seismic energy radiates at the site, directional effects associated with the two or three orthogonal components of ground motion, base-line correction errors of the input motion associated with small values of the critical acceleration ratio, scaling effects and other factors that vary from site to site. What is important in Figure 4 is that the scatter, regardless of the number of data points, is confined below an upper bound of the displacement u, a bound that shows a well-defined dependence on the cube of the critical acceleration ratio, a significant dependence that allows the assessment of extreme values of u to be made from equation (1) with some confidence. To re-examine the behaviour of permanent displacement as a function of critical acceleration ratio, we concentrated our analysis on near-field data. This reduces magnitude, attenuation and duration problems arising from site-specific conditions in the far field, and further enhances the role of acceleration or particle velocity as a variable. Ground motions were selected, therefore, from near-field data generated by shallow earthquakes, within source distances comparable with the source dimensions of causative earthquakes. The set of 26 two-component horizontal ground motions chosen, produced by 11earthquakes, is shown in Tables I and I1 together with the main earthquake parameters and ground motion characteristics used in the analysis. It should be noted that the magnitude range for which we have near-field data is very limited and that our investigation in terms of magnitude is, therefore, restricted within the narrow range of M , = 6.9 ( & 0.3). In order to reduce uncertainties associated with earthquake characteristics, source parameters in Table I were carefully revised. We have chosen to define the size of earthquakes in terms of surface-wave (M,) or moment magnitude (M,) and not in terms of local magnitude (ML) which is determined from high frequency radiation, but has the disadvantage that for larger events instruments may overload, and it is difficult to interpret when the source size becomes comparable with station distance. Values of M , therefore were recomputed uniformly using the Prague formula.34 Moment magnitudes were calculated from published teleseismic moment estimates using the relation of Kanamori and Anderson.22Source dimensions were taken to be of the order of the length of surface fauIting L, which, together with relative fault displacements, were taken from field reports and special studies. The 50 strong-motion records listed in Table 11, of peak acceleration between 6 and 115 per cent g were baseline corrected and low-pass-filtered. Frequency cut-offs were chosen from visual examination of the amplitude Fourier spectrum of uncorrected time-histories, and applied to frequencies below those that showed an unrealistic energy increase due to digitization noise and instrument distortions. Source distances of the recording stations were re-examined, and Arias intensities were calculated in the usual way. The duration of the record D in seconds was calculated as the time elapsed between the 0.05 and 0.95 of the Arias plot.35 The predominant period of the records, P in second, was estimated by taking the sum of the zero crossings in the positive and negative directions and by dividing the duration of the digitized record by half of the sum. CORRELATION OF MAXIMUM DISPLACEMENT WITH CRITICAL ACCELERATION RATIO To determine the extent to which displacements can be predicted in terms of critical ratio, the data in Table I1 were used to calculate displacements, and the results were expressed in terms of k,/k,. In the computation of

Table 1. List of earthquakes used in analysis


F w





H (km)

M s


L (km)

d (m)

5-90' ST 2.14' T H

l o

6.4' 7.2' 6.5'


2 7r:
P w

6.7' 6.4'

6-9 7.3 6.8 5-2 6-5 6.2


7.1 7.5 6.7 6.2 6.5 6.7



Imp. Valley Kern County Humbolt County Parkfield Borrego Moun. San Fernando Leukas Gazli Tabas 10 Montenegro 1 1 Imp. Valley

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1940 May 19 1952 Jul. 21 1954 Dec. 21 1966 Jun. 28 1968 Apr. 9 1971 Feb. 9 1973 NOV. 4 1976 May 17 1978 Sep. 16 1979 Apr. 15 1979 Oct. 15

32.73N-115.45W" 10 7.2(f0.3)*/18' 35.00N-119.00W" 20 7.7( & 0.3)*/19' 40.82N-124.08Wa 6-6(f0.2)*/18' 35.88N-120.42Wd 9 6.4(&0-3)*/9' 33.22N-116.19Wd 12 7.0(+0.2)*/29' 3440N-118.43Wd 9 67(f04)*/30' 38.87N-20.24Ed 15 5.7(f0.3)*/54' 4028N-63.38E 15 7.1( +0.3)10+ 10 7.3(+04)*/56' 33.37N-5744Ed 42.01N-19.05Ed 10 7.1(f0.3)*/5li 32.86N-1 15.46Wd 6.9( f0.3)*/49

6.4 6.2 5.6

s s s
6.9 7.4 7.1 6.5 C z U


6.8 6.6'

560b 20Wb 1-37" 0.26b 0.67b 1.20b 0 . 0 6 " 2.10' 154W 4.w 0-56

63' 75' 28 38' 31' 16' 10 30' 80' 701 30'

ST 0.40 ST 2.10' TH TH 3.30' TH 1.50 TH TH 0.80 ST

E vl


ST= Strike-Slip TH = Reverse * =Standard a = USGS c=Bonilla et al.23 e =Brune and Allenz4 g =Niazi and Kanamori2' i =Stein and Thatcherz9 k =Bolt and Miller3] m = Dziewonski and W o ~ d h o u s e ~ ~ deviation =Number of stations used b = Kanamori and Anderson" d = ISC f = Kristy et aLZ5; HartzellZ6 h = Andersonz8 j = Joyner and Boore30 I = Dede32

3 L a

99 2


Table 11. List of earthquake strong-motion characteristics No. Code CENTL70 CENTT70 KER2L70 KER2T70 EURlL70 EURlT70 EUR2L70 EUR2T70 PAR2L70 BORlL70 BORlT70 SFElL70 SFElT70 LEUlL70 LEUlT70 GAZL7O GAZT7O DAYL71 DAYT71 BOST71 TB4L71 TB4T71 MONlL71 MONlT71 MON3L71 MON3T71 MON4L71 MON4T71 MONSL71 MONST71 IV13L70 IV13T70 IV14L70 IV14T70 IV15L70 IV15T70 IV16L70 IV16T70 IV17L70 IV17T70 IV18L70 IV18T70 IV19L70 IV19T70 IV20T70 IV20T70 IV21L70 IV21T70 IV22L70 IV22T70 Earthquake Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Kern County Kern County Humbolt County Humbolt County Humbolt County Humbolt County Park fieId Borrego Mountain Borrego Mountain San Fernando San Fernando Leukas Leukas Gazli Gazli Tabas Tabas Tabas Tabas Tabas Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Station El-Centro El-Centro Taft Taft Fed. Build. Fed.Build Ferndale Ferndale Array 2 El-Centro El-Centro Pacoima Pacoima Leukas Leukas Gazli Gazli Dayhook Dayhook Boshrooyeh Tabas Tabas Petrovac Petrovac Ulcinj-2 Ulcinj-2 Bar Bar Herceg Nov Herceg Nov Huston Huston Bonds Corn Bonds Corn Cruicksh. Cruicksh. James James Dogwood Dogwood Anderson Anderson Browley Browley Holtville Holtville Keystone Keystone Calexico Calexico

7.2 7.2 7.7 7.7 6.7 66 6.6 66 6.4 7.0 7.0 6.7 6.7 5.7 5.7 7.1 7.1 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.1 7.1 7.1 7.1 7.1 7.1 7.1 7.1 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9 6-9 6.9 6.9 6.9 69 69 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9

R (km)
12.0 12.0 42.0 42.0 24.0 24.0 40.0 40.0 1.o 45.0 45.0 3.0 3.0 20.0 20.0
5.0 5.0

Ari (kAr)

D P, (sec) (sec)
24.5 28.7 30.4 14.6 10.0 19.6 18.0 7.1 49.2 52.9 7.1 7.3 0.340 0.302 0.278 0.785 0-810 0593 0.631 0.475 0.693 0.653 0181 0.162 5.1 0.412 8.0 0.385 6.5 0.091 6.8 0.082 32.8 0.162 33.6 0.181 21.5 0261 15.7 0.186 17.2 0.174 12.0 0.261 13.4 0.247 12.4 0.155 12.3 0.188 21.5 0.209 18.9 0.223 11.0 0163 12.2 0129 11.5 0-254 8.6 0.270 9.7 0.278 9.8 0.418 6-8 0.227 5.9 0.220 8-6 0-247 9.3 0.286 6.6 0.201 7.5 0,241 6.7 0.265 10.3 0.322 14.6 0.229 15.3 0.243 13.7 0.269 12.0 0.328 12.1 0.266 13.2 0.305 16.0 0.272 11.2 0.276


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

0.344 0.217 0.156 0.189 0.164 0.272 0165 0205 0.495 0.143 0.058 1.152 1.120 0.5 13 0.245 0.6 13 0.734 0340 0.378 0092 0.937 0.853 0.453 0302 0.181 0.224 0.367 0.366 0218 0.249 0.412 0424 0375 0748 0597 0.392 0.486 0.361 0.477 0.346 0.485 0.335 0.219 0.164 0.205 0.245 0.223 0.171 0.198 0,265

116.45 24.4 0.318

21.0 21.0 54.0 8.0 8.0 11.0 11.0 10.0 100 13.0 13.0 32.0 32.0 1.o 1.o 30 3.0 4.0 4.0 4-0 4.0 5.0

7.0 7.0 7.0 7.0 8.0 8.0 16.0 16.0 11.0 11.0

83.33 38.63 35.36 21.22 4458 23.76 34.59 112.72 15.26 967 548.73 505.23 74.03 26.10 303.20 322.65 102.34 102.79 18.09 742.97 797.02 275.00 120.87 38.61 45.55 120.25 183.24 4478 28.56 88.7 1 106.76 230.68 35600 92-62 85.96 97.12 9934 125.93 101.21 7953 56.31 2643 17.98 50.40
5 1.57

42.03 34.53 43.7 1 50.44


unsymmetrical displacements, two values were calculated, one for each of the two horizontal components of ground acceleration, using both sides of the record. In order to avoid problems of scaling when widely different records are used, the 50 records in Table I1 were not normalized, and at this stage no attempt was



made to compute displacementsby combining the two horizontal components of ground motion in real time or include in the computation vertical motion. The results of the computation, valid in the range 0.1 < k,/k, < 0.9, are plotted in Figure 5 together with the best fit expressed, in its simplest form, by the regression

with a goodness of fit of 0.9 and a variance of 0.13. The results corresponding to symmetrical motion are shown in Figure 6 together with the best fit given by

k (4) km with a variance of log (uz) of 0-17 and a goodness of fit of 083. Figures 5 and 6 show the regression of log (ui) on (k,/k,) and also the scatter of the data points which is significant. This is partly due to other variables which are not and perhaps cannot be considered, and partly due to directional effects associated with the two different components of acceleration used for each station. However, these figures show that, in both regressions the critical acceleration ratio is the predominant variable. As with equation (l), when we were investigating an upper bound, here also with the mean we find ui depending on the third or fourth power of k,/k, that dominates over the weaker influence of other variables. Comparing Figures 4 and 5 we notice that the upper bound equation (l), corresponds approximately to equation (3) with a confidence limit of about 65 per cent for small critical acceleration ratios, while for larger ratios the limit rises to 99 per cent , confirming the upper bound nature of this relationship. Returning to equations (3) and (4) we notice that, strictly speaking, these formulae do not satisfy the necessary conditions at k,/k,=O and 1. For a critical ratio of 1.0, both equations should give zero , ' O u1 should tend to infinity and uz should approach the maximum absolute displacement, while for k,/k, = ground displacement. In reality, only the first condition of k , / k , = 1-0 is satisfied approximately by both equations, giving values of about 002 cm, which for all practical purposes are zero. However, the second condition is not obviously satisfied, and the lack of known or accurately determined absolute ground
log (u,)= 1.72- 3.38

... .,. . . .


90 Z


t o0 B. 0 0.'2




Ratio Kc/Km

Figure 5. Estimated regressions for unsymmetrical displacements ul. log (u,)= 2.27-4.08 k,/k,. Mean from equation (3), and confidence limits for 900%. The variance of log(#,) is, in fact, a quadratic function of the dependent variables; in the range 0.1 < k,/k, < 0.9, the sample is large enough to allow us to assume that s2 is constant




0 :o

. .





1: o

Ratio Kc/Km

Figure 6. Estimated regression for symmetrical displacements u2. log(u,) = 1.72- 338 k,/k,. Mean from equation(4), and confidence limits for 90.0% and 975%

displacement makes it difficult to impose on the functional relationship for u2 the appropriate values at k, =O. Nevertheless, an improvement of the model may be made by introducing into the regression the analytical expressions for ui in terms of k , / k , for inputs of pulses of simple shape such as (1 - k,/k,)"' or (l/kc/km)". The first expression with rn = 2 or rn = 3, for instance, corresponds to a square or triangular pulse respectively, an expression suitable for large values of k,/k,, while the second expression, with n = 0 or n = 1, is more suitable for small values of the critical acceleration ratio. For the symetrical case, n = 0 is obviously required to provide a finite value of the displacement at k,=O. A combination of these two expressions was used therefore to regress log (uJ with the following results: log (u 1 ) = 0.77 log (K, ) for unsymmetrical displacements, with variance of log (ul) of 0.11, and log (14%)= 1.17 +log ( K 2 ) for symmetrical displacements, with variance of log (uz) of 0.14, where andK,= K , = 1-These equations show an improvement on equations (3) and (4), and they are valid in the range 0.1 < k,/k, <0.9. As indicated earlier, directional effects do seem to increase scatter. An approximate method of minimizing the role of this variable in the regression for displacements would be to use in the analysis either (i) only the largest computed value of displacement or (ii) the square root of the sum of the squares of the two largest displacements produced by the two horizontal components of each record. The results of the regressions for these two cases, together with those for previous cases, are shown in Table 111. Their ranking varies depending on whether a high value for the goodness of fit, or low variance, is considered most appropriate, but the differencesare not great. In all cases, the goodness of fit is greater than 0-8,an indication of the preponderance of the critical acceleration ratio over other variables. The data in Table 111 also show that the effect of directivity on permanent displacement, a situation more relevant to symmetrical displacement associated with level ground where there are no orientation contraints, is not very large. On average, directivity effects add about 20 per cent to the displacements computed from individual components of motion, and they explain only 10 per cent of the observed dispersion of the data points.


( i:)(c)




Table 111. Results of regression analyses of log@,) on various combinations of variables, equations (5) and (6) Case Equation

a 2.27 2.33 2.42 1.72 1.85 1.91 0.77 0.90 0.96 1.17 1.31 1.38






u 1-A-I ~1-B-I u ,-c-I uZ-A-I u,-B-I u,-c-I u 1-A-I1 ul-B-11 u,-c-I1 uZ-A-11 uZ-B-11 u,-c-I1
U,: U2:

(3) (3) (3) (4) (4) (4)

(5) (5) (5)

(6) (6) (6)

4.08 3.96 4.00 3.38 3.34 3.36 1.00 1.00 1.00 1-00 1.00 1.00

2.58 2.53 2.54 3-00 2.96 2.98

1.16 1.09 1.12 000

0.00 0 . 0 0

0.90 0.91 0.92 0.83 0.84 0.85 0.92 0.93 0.94 0.85 0.86 0.88

0.13 0.11 0.10 017 0.15 014 0.11 0 . 0 9 0.08 0.14 0.13 0.12


ll(A)-12 13(C) ll(Bk-12


B: C:

11: r2:


unsymmetrical (one-way) displacement. symmetrical (two-way)displacement. permanent displacement calculated for each of the two horizontal components of each record (two values per acceleration record). permanent displacement calculated for each record (one value per acceleration record). permanent displacement computed from the two horizontal maxima combined vectorially, for each record. regression equation; log (ui)=a b(k,/k,) i = 1, 2 regression equation; log (u,)=a+b log (1 -k,/k,)" (k,/k,)-". goodness of fit. variance of log (ui).

CORRELATION OF MAXIMUM DISPLACEMENT WITH CRITICAL ACCELERATION RATIO AND SEISMIC PARAMETERS In order to investigate the influence of other variables on permanent displacements that could explain the observed scatter and arrive at a better prediction model, the effects of magnitude M,, source distance R, predominant period P, duration of shaking D and peak acceleration A were introduced in a multiple regression model that includes the effects of critical ratio in the form of equations ( 5 ) and (6). The technique used is a conventional multiple regression procedure, rendered linear by appropriate transformations. The expansion of the constant term in equations ( 5 ) and (6) was performed using dummy so that the equations can be written variables Zir36

where Z i , i = 1, 2, . . . , n are the dummy variables, the index i being associated with inputs from a given earthquake at a specific source distance. The method allows for the decoupling of the critical acceleration ratio dependence from other variables and therefore it is convenient to separate the expansion terms from the influence of k,/k,. Once the coefficients A,, B, C and yi are determined, yi is retained and fitted to the expansion variables. The subsequent step of the technique gives
i= 1

1 yizi= p' + q ; M , + q;R +r' log (P)+s' log D


i= 1




The results of the analysis show that as expected magnitude M, and duration D play an insignificant role in the prediction of the permanent displacement. Figures 7(a) and 7(b) show the ill-defined variation of yi with these two variables, resulting from the fact that the bulk of the earthquakes used centre at M,=6.9( kO.35).


0 4

& I

E 8.

111 C



two-sided sliding

i i "



-1 E




P) -8.8

one-sided sllding




two-sided slidlng





Duration D

r= 0.0

3 .z
E c .



. a




one-sided sliding








More significant are found to be the variables A, P and R, the effects of which may be included in a regression of a more general character. Combining equations (7) and (8) we have
(9) The coefficients of equation (9) are shown in Table IV for the combination of the variables that show the
log & ) = a

+b log (Ki)+ c log ( P ) + d log (A)+ eR

Table IV. Results of regression analysis of log (a) on various combinations of variables equations (9) Case
u,-A-111 uI-B-111 u,-c-111

(9.1) (9.2) (9.3) (9.4) (95) (9.6)

1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00

0 0

0 0 0 -0005 0 0 -001

2.58 2.53 2.54 2.54 3.00 2.96 298 2.98

0.96 0.97 098 0.98 0-83 0.84 085 085


1.04 1.16 1.43 1.41 1.54 1.66 1.96 1.94

0.46 044 0-48 044 0.63 0.59 072 0.59

0 . 4 4
0 0 0 0.26

1.16 1.09 1.12 1.12

0 0 0 0

0-08 0.07 0.06 006 017 0.15 0.14 0.14

u,-A-111 uZ-B-111 u,-c-111


Notes. Cases as in Table 111. 111: regressionequation-equation(9),log ( u i ) = a + b log(K,)+c log ( P ) + d log(A)+eR, where K i isdefined inequations(5)and

(6). P: Predominant period of ground motion in sec. A: Peak acceleration in g. R: Source distance in km.


e q u a t i o n 9.3



0 :4

0S ' .


Ratio Kc/Km

9. I a


R a t i o Kc/Km
Figure 8(a). Variation of the ratio LI of displacement calculated from a sliding block model to predicted displacement from equation (9.1) (plot a) and equation (9.3) (plot b) with critical ratio. For all practical purposes scatter of CI is bracketed by a factor of 3



. 'Oj U

equation 9.6



0: z

0 :4

0 :a

0 : s

Ratio K c / b


R a t i o Kc/Km
Figure 8(b). Variation of the ratio U of displacement calculated from a sliding block model to predicted displacement from equation{9.4) (plot a) and equation (9.6) (plot b) with critical ratio. For all practical purposes scatter of U is bracketed by a factor of 3

highest significance.These equations [(9. 1) to (9.6)] show a somewhat reduced variance and predict relatively well displacements calculated from a sliding block model. The plots of the ratio of calculated to predicted permanent displacement versus critical acceleration ratio depicted in Figures 8(a) and 8(b) show that the scatter arising from the use of equation (9) is now bracketed within a ratio of 3 which, for all practical purposes, is independent of the critical acceleration ratio. EXTREME VALUES Permanent displacements generated by earthquakes are variables whose largest values, such as those given by equation (l), are of practical interest in design. An extreme values model, therefore, may be used to bracket design values for displacements within acceptable limits. For both unsymmetrical and symmetrical motions, permanent displacements calculated from a sliding block model by combining vectorially the two horizontal maxima for each record (case C in Tables I11 and IV), were classified into nine sets for values of the critical ratios 0.9,0.8, . . . ,0.1. For each subset permanent displacements were ranked and several probability distributions were tested. A Weibull distribution, with lower limit equal to zero (Gumbel's type III), was found to fit all subsets remarkably well, one of which, for k,/k,=0.2, is shown in Figure 9. We used, therefore, the inverse Weibull distribution
ui= a, ln-(1 : z ) ] - l ' b i

where the dependent variable is the percentage of confidence z, with ui > 0. The characteristic value of the







. . .

. . . . -2.b

. .

-I :r



-Ln ( 1 - 0

0 !a

Kc/Km = 0.2

Cumulative Probability F,,(Urnax)

Figure 9. Fitting of maximum displacements uito an extreme value distribution.The figures show an exampleof the fitting for the case of the symmetrical k,/k,=0.2 subset. The slope and intercept of the linearized plot give the coefficients oi and bi of equation (10)

distribution a, is an indicator associated with a confidence of 63 per cent, and the exponent b,, when constant, reflects an invariance in the shape of the distribution. Means and standard deviations are proportional to a,. Using the expressions for uiin terms of K,[see equations (5) and (6)], the distributions parameters are found to be given by:


bl= 1*18(2)

and b2 = 1.16 (1 1 4 The dependence of a, and bi on critical ratio is shown in Figure 10. The constant value of b, implies an invariance in the shape of the distribution in the case of symmetrical displacements, while equation (1lb) shows some dependence on the nature of the ground motions. Equations (10) and (11) may be used to predict permanent displacements associated with a given probability of not being exceeded. As an example, Table V lists the predicted values of uifor confidence levels of 90-0 and 96.2 per cent and compares the values of the latter with the actual maxima in the data subsets which have a size of 26.



1 2 1 0:o



D :e


* ?

ri'l 0:o -

. ..



D :6

-x---1 .D

Ratio Kc/Km
24 0

Ratio Kc/Km


4 -76


$ 'z c u


0 u


' O D




.-....... ......... . . . . - . . . . ......... .....0 :2

0:4 0:s


1.00 1.0 0.0





Table V. Maximum displacements calculated from extreme value distribution Unsymmetrical displacements

Symmetrical displacements

0.1 0.2 0.3 04

A (90.0%)

B (96'2%)


(96.2%) 128.0 93.1 38.1 19.7 11.0 5.1 1.7 0.8 0.2

A (90.0%)
47.6 33.5 225 14.2 8.3 4.2 1.8 05 01

uz(cm) B (96.2%)
63.9 45.0 30.2 19.1 11.1 5.7 2.4 0.7 0.1

(96.2%) 85.2 71.8 32.7 14.8 7.8 4.0 1.7 0.8 0.2

0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9

194.1 69.7 32.6 16.4 8.2 3.9 1.6



242.0 88.5 42.0 21.3 10.8 5.1 2.1 0.7 0.1

Notes. Extreme value prediction of permanent displacement ui computed for vectorially combined maxima in two horizontal directions. A: Displacements with a 10 per cent probability of exceedance computed from equations (10) and (11). B: Displacements with a 3.8 per cent probability of exceedance computed from equations (10) and (1 I).. C Extreme values of the data subsets of size 26.

The near-field data used in this study have served to establish empirically the behaviour of permanent ground displacements in the epicentral area of strong earthquakes. We have used only acceleration time-histories recorded at source distances of up to 45 per cent of the source dimensions of events in the magnitude range



6.4 < M , < 7.7, a range often used for the design of structures in areas of high seismicity. In our analysis we have made the crucial assumption that the yield resistance to sliding remains constant and equal to that mobilized at a factor of safety of one. The influence of pore pressure and rapid loading effects on displacements3' awaits further study. Site effects have not been considered and we have limited our regression analyses to critical ratios between 0.1 and 0.9. The reason for this is that, for ratios smaller than 0.1, errors due to other factors, such as the length of the record used in analysis and base-line corrections, become important. The purpose of equations (4) to (6) and (9) is prediction of the mean value of permanent displacement. Estimates of displacement have been calculated by regressing log (ui) on critical acceleration ratio and on other variables, and these estimates are interpreted as'most likely, rather than maximum values, which could be exceeded 50 per cent of the time. However, estimates at other probability levels may be calculated using the relevant variances. It must be stressed that these regressions are not major axis solutions, and as such they should not be used to estimate a variable from ui. From Tables 111 and IV we notice that the main variable in the prediction displacement is the critical acceleration ratio, and that although additional variables in equations (5) and (6) do improve their predictive value, improvements are not all that great. Predominant period P and to a lesser extent peak acceleration A do seem to have some significance on predicted displacements, but the data set analysed shows that the remaining variables, source distance R, magnitude M,and duration of shaking D are even less significant in the narrow M,limits investigated. Figure 11 shows a plot of unsymmetrical (A) and symmetrical (B) displacements in the direction of maximum acceleration for a 50 per cent probability of exceedance as a function of the critical ratio, predicted from equations (5-B-11)and (64-11) respectively (Table 111). This figure shows that, other things being equal, the difference between displacements induced down-slope and on level ground decreases with increasing values of the critical ratio. At k,/k,=O.l, down-slope displacements are on average 5 times larger than on level ground, becoming practically equal for ratios greater than about 06. This is perfectly acceptable, since for values of the critical ratio greater than about 0.6, the significant part of the ground acceleration record inducing sliding is reduced (essentially to a single triangular pulse on one side of each acceleration c ~ m p o n e n tThis . ~ ~also suggests that the dependence coefficientsin equation (7) should be in fact a function of the critical ratio and not constants. However, the data are insufficient to allow such a refinement of the model to be tested. Equations (5-C-11) and (64-11) in Table I11 may be used to calculate displacements induced by ground accelerationsin two horizontal components combined vectorially. Alternatively, these displacements may be assessed from Figure 11, by multiplying the values from curves (A) and (B) by 1.25 and 1.15 respectively. As already pointed out, directional effects are not significant. Figure 11 is valid for M,= 6.9( 0.3). Equations (5-B-11), (6-B-11), (5-C-11) and (6C-11) may also be used to predict displacements with probabilities of exceedance smaller than 50 per cent. This may be done by adding to the expressionsfor log (ui) the term t x s, where s are the relevant variance given in Tables 111and IV, and t can be obtained from a table of the normal distribution function. Figure 12 shows predicted unsymmetrical (A) and symmetrical (B) displacements in the direction of maximum acceleration, for different probabilities of exceedance. However, the data are insufficient to warrant probabilities smaller than about 10 per cent, and caution is indicated in using these equations for t values larger than about 1.3. Extreme values of permanent displacement computed from equations (10) and (1 1) offer a better alternative in this case and hold true in the magnitude range of the data investigated. It is of interest that, regardless of the method of analysis in the regression of log@,)on one variable, the exponents m and n in the expressions for K iare, for all practical purposes, invariant (Table VI), and equal to m = 2-54 and n = 1-12 for the unsymmetrical case, and m = 2.98 and n =0 for the symmetrical case. Of the regression equations that involve variables in addition to the critical ratio (Table IV), equation (9.3), which predits displacements induced by vectorially combined ground accelerations, is of particular interest. From Table IV we notice that the coefficients of the terms that involve acceleration A and periods P are, for all practical purposes, identical so that they may be replaced by a single velocity term. If we define by V the ground velocity that corresponds to 4 V = A x P(cgs),and replace A and P in equation (9.3)in terms of V, we find that displacements may now be predicted in terms of critical acceleration ratio and ground velocity only. Figure 13










Figure 11. Predicted unsymmetrical (A) and symmetrical (B) displacements for 50% probability of exceedance as a function of critical . 3 ) ratio (equations 5-5-11 and 6B-II in Table 111). M,=6.9( +_ 0

shows a plot of the unsymmetrical displacement u1 as a function of the critical ratio and V, for ground velocities of 10, 100 and 200 cm/sec. The same figure shows a plot of equation (5-C-11) for comparison (C). Curve (C)implies that displacements predicted from equation (5-C-11) are almost identical to those predicted by equation (9.3) for an average ground velocity of 25 cm/sec. The present analysis demonstrates that, provided the yield resistance to sliding does not deteriorate with displacement, that is k , remains constant, soil masses may resist with negligibly small displacements (of the order of millimetres),ground motions generated in the near field, even when peak accelerations exceed critical values by 40 per cent. This implies (i)that, provided k J k , 2 0-7,effective design accelerations may be reduced to 0 7 k, in a static analysis, and (ii) that recorded ground accelerations on soil sites may include such yield effects. The use in design of a reduced peak acceleration, of say 0.7 k,, implies that surface cracking of several millimetres to a few centimetres is acceptable and of little consequence for the stability of a slope or a foundation. However, such cracking, particularly near the top of a slope, aided by tensile stresses, drying effects and aftershock activity may extend to a considerable depth, particularly in materials of low plasticity, fine silty soils or poorly compacted fills. Although these cracks by themselvesmay have little detrimental effect on stability, subsequent flooding by seepage, rain or reservoir water may bring about instability and failure of a slope sometime after the earthquake. There is some evidence that landslides, particularly those in clays with



Figure 12. Predicted values of unsymmetrical (A) and symmetrical (B) displacements in the direction of maximum acceleration as a function ofcritical ratio for probabilitiesofexceedenceof 1,5,16 and 50 per cent, from equations5-&I1 and 68-11. Dashed curvesshow extrapolation of the prediction to be used with caution. M,=6.9(+0.3)

Table VI. Values of m and n derived from different models


1.16 1.09 1.12 1.16 1.09 1.12 1.12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

(5-A-11) (5-511) (54-11) (9- A-111) (9-B-111) (9-C-111) (1 la) (6-A-11) (CB-11) (CC-11) (9- A-I 11) (9-B-111) (9-C-111) (1 lc)

Unsymmetrical case:

Symmetrical case:

2.58 2.53 2.54 2.58 253 2.54 2.50 3.00 2.96 2.98 3.00 2.96 298 2.98

ma, = 254( +_ 0.03) nav = 1.12(k0.03)

ma, = 2.98(+_ 002) nnv= 0

preexisting slip surfaces, take place some time after the earthquake. In such cases, the shock can have only an indirect effect on stability, and this may very well be due to cracking and subsequent flooding of cracks induced by permanent displacement^.^^ Piping failures may originate from embankment cracks, and in



Figure 13. Predicted vectorially combined maximum displacements for the unsymmetrical case as a function of critical ratio, equation 5-C-111, curve (C).Curves (A) and (B) show predictions in terms ofequation (9.3)in which we have substituted 4 V= A x P, where Vis the ground velocity, for V = 10 cm/sec and V= 100 cm/sec. Input data range M,=69, standard deviation 0.35

allowing small permanent displacements to develop in earth dams (an effect implicit in the reduction of the peak acceleration),care must be taken to safeguard against secondary effects that may lead to instability. For concrete faced dams, the amount of damage which may ensue from cracking and requirements for effective repair are difficult to assess and great caution must be exercised in protecting such structures from piping. CONCLUSIONS Several prediction equations for permanent displacement are presented in terms of critical ratio, predominant period, ground acceleration and source distance, for near-field conditions and for earthquake magnitude M, = 6.9 ( +_ 0*3), regardless of site conditions. Critical acceleration ratio is the fundamental parameter, and the most appropriate prediction equations for unsymmetrical u1 and symmetrical u2 displacements in the direction of the maximum acceleration are 10g(u,)=090+10g and


+,,[ ( - P ) . ~ ~ ] + ~ . ~ ~ ~(6-B-111)

where t is zero for a probability of exceedance of 50 per cent. For smaller probabilities t could be obtained



from a table of the normal distribution function. These equations are shown on Figure 12 and they are valid for 0.1 < k,/k, < 0.9. Displacements resulting from two components combined vectorially may be obtained from equations (54-11) and (6-B-II), the former shown in Figure 13,curve (C)for t = 0. Directional effects are relatively small and would increase values derived from (54-11) and (6-B-11) by 1.25 and 1.15 respectively. For the narrow range of magnitudes used, M , is not statistically significant. It is of interest to note that, for the narrow range of M , used, duration of shaking D, a measure of the size of seismic event, is also not significant for displacements. The examination of the sensitivity of the prediction equations to other variables shows that predominant period and to a lesser extent peak acceleration and source distance have some significancefor displacements, resulting in a small improvement in the total variance. Equation (9) and Table IV provide somewhat improved regressions for displacements,one of which, based on ground velocity, is shown in Figure 13. From Table IV we notice that the source distance coefficient e is of the order of magnitude that one would expect in an attenuation relationship valid in the near field of strong earthquakes and that the period coefficient c is the same, to one decimal place, as that for acceleration d, suggesting a velocity dependence. However, for design purposes, equations (9) involve additional assumptions to be made regarding P, A, R or V that unduly complicate the confidence that can be placed on predicted displacements and it seems quite reasonable that preference should be given to equations (543-11) and (MI-11). For critical acceleration ratios greater than about 0.6, maximum displacementson sloping and level ground are almost identical. However, down-slope displacementsincrease more rapidly with decreasing values of the critical acceleration ratio, becoming about 5 times larger than on horizontal ground for values of the ratio approaching 0.1. Finally, equation (1) is still valid and comparison of Figures 3 and 12 suggests that this equation in fact represents displacements that have a probability of about 25 per cent of being exceeded. However, any reliable prediction model for displacements must involve data from a wider range of magnitudes and distances and in particular more realistic yield resistance characteristics. Until then, equations (5-B-11) and (6B-11) may be used for design purposes, provided k, is based on residual strength and M, lies between 6.6 and 7-3.

This work was supported by the Science and Engineering Research Council under Grant No. GR/D/38620. We thank Drs. S. Sarma, P. Viughan and J. Hutchinson for comments and constructive criticisms.

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