Sensitivity of predicted liquefaction-induced lateral displacements from the 2010 Darfield and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes
The 2010 Darfield and 2011 Christchurch Earthquakes triggered extensive liquefaction-induced lateral spreading proximate to streams and rivers in the Christchurch area, causing significant damage to structures and lifelines. A case study in central Christchurch is presented and compares field observations with predicted displacements from the widely adopted empirical model of Youd et al. (2002). Cone penetration testing (CPT), with measured soil gradation indices (fines content and median grain size) on typical fluvial deposits along the Avon River were used to determine the required geotechnical parameters for the model input. The method presented attempts to enable the adoption of the extensive post-quake CPT test records in place of the lower quality and less available Standard Penetration Test (SPT) data required by the original Youd model. The results indicate some agreement between the Youd model predictions and the field observations, while the majority of computed displacements error on the side of over-prediction by more than a factor of two. A sensitivity analysis was performed with respect to the uncertainties used as model input, illustrating the model’s high sensitivity to the input parameters, with median grain size and fines content among the most influential, and suggesting that the use of CPT data to quantify these parameters may lead to variable results.