Addressing limitations in existing ‘simplified’ liquefaction triggering evaluation procedures: application to induced seismicity in the Groningen gas field

  • R. A. GreenEmail author
  • J. J. Bommer
  • A. Rodriguez-Marek
  • B. W. Maurer
  • P. J. Stafford
  • B. Edwards
  • P. P. Kruiver
  • G. de Lange
  • J. van Elk
S.I. : Induced Seismicity and Its Effects on Built Environment


The Groningen gas field is one of the largest in the world and has produced over 2000 billion m3 of natural gas since the start of production in 1963. The first earthquakes linked to gas production in the Groningen field occurred in 1991, with the largest event to date being a local magnitude (ML) 3.6. As a result, the field operator is leading an effort to quantify the seismic hazard and risk resulting from the gas production operations, including the assessment of liquefaction hazard. However, due to the unique characteristics of both the seismic hazard and the geological subsurface, particularly the unconsolidated sediments, direct application of existing liquefaction evaluation procedures is deemed inappropriate in Groningen. Specifically, the depth-stress reduction factor (rd) and the magnitude scaling factor relationships inherent to existing variants of the simplified liquefaction evaluation procedure are considered unsuitable for use. Accordingly, efforts have first focused on developing a framework for evaluating the liquefaction potential of the region for moment magnitudes (M) ranging from 3.5 to 7.0. The limitations of existing liquefaction procedures for use in Groningen and the path being followed to overcome these shortcomings are presented in detail herein.


Liquefaction Liquefaction hazard Magnitude scaling factor Depth-stress reduction factor Induced seismicity Groningen gas field 



This research was partially funded by Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V. (NAM) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants CMMI-1030564 and CMMI-1435494. This support is gratefully acknowledged. This study has also significantly benefited from enlightening discussions with colleagues at Shell, Deltares, Arup, Fugro, Beca, and on the NEN liquefaction task force. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the constructive comments by the anonymous reviewers. However, any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or NAM.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Green
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. J. Bommer
    • 2
  • A. Rodriguez-Marek
    • 1
  • B. W. Maurer
    • 3
  • P. J. Stafford
    • 2
  • B. Edwards
    • 4
  • P. P. Kruiver
    • 5
  • G. de Lange
    • 5
  • J. van Elk
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  5. 5.DeltaresDelftThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V.AssenThe Netherlands

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