Liquefaction-induced settlement can cause significant damage to structures and infrastructure in the wake of a seismic event. Predicting settlement is an essential component of a comprehensive seismic design. The inherent uncertainty associated with seismic events makes the accurate prediction of settlement difficult. While several methods of assessing seismic hazards exist, perhaps the most promising is performance-based earthquake engineering, a framework presented by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center. The PEER framework incorporates probability theory to generate a comprehensive seismic hazard analysis. Two settlement estimation methods are incorporated into the PEER framework to create a fully probabilistic settlement estimation procedure. A seismic hazard analysis tool known as PBLiquefY was updated to include the fully probabilistic method described above. The goal of the additions to PBLiquefY is to facilitate the development of a simplified performance-based procedure for the prediction of liquefaction-induced free-field settlements. Settlement estimations are computed using conventional deterministic methods and the fully probabilistic procedure for five theoretical soil profiles in 10 cities of varying seismicity levels. A comparison of these results suggests that deterministic methods are adequate when considering events of low seismicity but may result in a considerable under-estimation of seismic hazard when considering events of mid to high seismicity.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





liquefaction, PBLiquefY, PEER, performance-based earthquake engineering, probabilistic, seismic hazard, settlement