Comparative analysis of liquefaction susceptibility assessment methods based on the investigation on a pilot site in the greater Lisbon area

  • Cristiana FerreiraEmail author
  • António Viana da Fonseca
  • Catarina Ramos
  • Ana Sofia Saldanha
  • Sara Amoroso
  • Carlos Rodrigues
Original Research


In Portugal, particularly in the greater Lisbon area, there are widespread alluvial sandy deposits, which need to be carefully assessed in terms of liquefaction susceptibility and risk zonation. For this purpose, a pilot site has been set up, as part of the European H2020 LIQUEFACT project. An extensive database of geological and geotechnical reports was collected and a comprehensive site investigation campaign was carried out, including boreholes with standard penetration (SPT), piezocone penetrometer and seismic dilatometer tests as well as geophysical methods, complemented by undisturbed soil sampling for laboratory characterisation. The assessment of liquefaction susceptibility based on field tests was made using the simplified procedure, considering the factor of safety against liquefaction (FSliq), which relates the cyclic resistance ratio (CRR) with the cyclic stress ratio (CSR). While the computation of the CSR is relatively straightforward, the reliability of the CRR strongly depends on the adopted in situ testing technique. Alternative approaches to liquefaction assessment have been proposed, based on quantitative liquefaction damage indexes, namely the Liquefaction Potential Index (LPI) and Liquefaction Severity Number. In this paper, the geotechnical field data is integrated in these distinct approaches to liquefaction assessment. A comparative and in-depth analysis of the conventional approach is presented and the inclusion of specific information on soil type, as a means to overcome the observed differences, is discussed particularly for SPT and VS results. The combination of these criteria enabled to clearly identify the most critical layers, in terms of liquefaction potential and severity.


Earthquake-induced liquefaction Liquefaction potential Site characterisation In situ tests Lisbon earthquake 

List of symbols


Design ground acceleration on type A ground


Reference peak ground acceleration on type A ground


Peak ground acceleration


Cross-hole test


Piezocone penetrometer test


Cyclic resistance ratio


Cyclic stress ratio


Overburden coefficient


Flat dilatometer test


Distance Weighting Factor


Eurocode 8


Eurocode 8, National Annex


Earthquake Induced Liquefaction Disasters


Fines content


Factor of safety against liquefaction


Acceleration of gravity


Height of liquefiable layer


Soil behaviour type index


Material index


Ageing correction factor


Ageing correction factor


Horizontal stress index from DMT


Effective overburden stress coefficient


Liquefaction Potential Index


Liquefaction Severity Number


Magnitude scaling factor


Upper limit of MSF


Moment magnitude


Normalised equivalent clean sand SPT blow count number


Reference atmospheric pressure


Plasticity index


Liquefaction probability


Cone tip resistance


Normalised equivalent clean sand CPT cone tip resistance


Normalised cone tip penetration resistance


Shear stress reduction coefficient


Soil factor defined in EN 1998-1:2004


Spectral analysis of surface waves test


Seismic piezocone penetration test


Seismic dilatometer test


Site investigation point


Soil factor depending on ground type


Standard penetration test


Seismic refraction test


Pore pressure


Shear wave velocity


Shear wave velocity calculated with Andrus and Stokoe (2000)


Shear wave velocity calculated with Kayen et al. (2013)


Stress-corrected shear wave velocity


Upper boundary value of VS1




Parameter to calculate rd


Parameter to calculate rd


Importance factor

\(\upsigma_{\text{v}}^{\prime }\)

Effective overburden stress

\(\upsigma_{{\text{v0}}}^{\prime }\)

Initial effective overburden stress


Cyclic shear stress



LIQUEFACT project (“Assessment and mitigation of liquefaction potential across Europe: a holistic approach to protect structures/infrastructures for improved resilience to earthquake-induced liquefaction disasters”) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. GAP-700748. Acknowledgements are also due to the Portuguese stakeholders of LIQUEFACT, namely Teixeira Duarte, LNEG, ENMC, CMMontijo, CMBenavente, ABLGVFX, BRISA, CENOR, GEOCONTROLE and COBA, as well as to Dr. Luca Minarelli and Dr. Rui Carrilho Gomes. The second and third authors have received funding from FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) in the form of the SFRH/BPD/120470/2016 and SFRH/BD/120035/2016 grants, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONSTRUCT-GEOFaculty of Engineering of University of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering of University of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.University of Chieti-PescaraPescaraItaly
  4. 4.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaL’AquilaItaly
  5. 5.Polytechnic Institute of GuardaGuardaPortugal

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