The 2010, moment magnitude 8.8 earthquake that occurred near Maule, Chile caused major damages to several piers in the Port of Coronel located approximately 160 kilometers (100 miles) to the South of the earthquake epicenter. One of the piers, the North Pier, experienced significant lateral spreading that was caused from liquefaction of the soils at the approach zone of the pier. Damages from lateral spreading and liquefaction effects consisted of sheet pile welding ruptures of the cross-support beams, stiffener buckling, pile displacements, pile rotations, and pier deck displacement. Researchers analyzed the North Pier after the earthquake and documented in detail the damage caused by lateral spread displacements. This study introduces a simplified performance-based procedure called the "Simplified Modeling Procedure" that is used for the analysis of piles supporting a pier that are exposed to lateral spread displacements. The procedure uses the software LPILE, a common program for analyzing a single pile under lateral loading conditions, to evaluate a more complex multi-pile pier design. Instead of analyzing each of the piles in a given pier individually, the procedure utilizes what is known as a "Super Pile" approach to combine several piles into a single representative pile during the analysis. To ensure displacement compatibility between each "Super Pile" in the analysis, the "Super Piles" are assumed to be fully connected at the top of each "Super Pile" to the pier deck. The Simplified Modeling Procedure is developed and tested using the case study history of the North Pier from the Port of Coronel during the 2010 Maule earthquake. The Simplified Modeling Procedure incorporates p-y springs with a lateral push-over analysis. This approach allows the analysis to be performed in a matter of seconds and allows the user to more easily draw the needed correlations between the rows of piles. This procedure helps identify that different rows of piles either contribute to the movement of the pier or contribute to the bracing of the pier. The procedure ultimately predicts the anticipated pier deck deflection by determining when all the pile rows and their respective shear forces are in equilibrium. The Simplified Modeling Procedure predicted that the North Pier experienced deflections between approximately 0.31 meters (1.01 feet) and 0.38 meters (1.26 feet). The predicted deflections and rotations determined using the procedure were determined to be a relatively close representation of the observations made during the post-earthquake reconnaissance observations.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





Maule, Liquefaction, Lateral Spread, Simplified Modeling Procedure, Super Pile