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Liquefaction Hazard Mapping Using Various Types of Field Test Data


The so-called “Simplified Method” is the current state-of-practice (SoP) for liquefaction hazard assessment. It is based on correlations between observed soil behaviour during seismic events and common in-situ soil properties, such as: standard penetration resistance (SPT-N), cone penetration resistance (CPT-q), or shear wave velocity (Vs). The method has been certified by the 1996 and 1998 NCEER/NSF Workshops on evaluation of liquefaction resistance for all three types of in-situ test results. The major objective of this study is to determine the liquefaction susceptibility of the IIT Patna campus soil and prepare microzonation maps. Results of extended in-situ soil test programs, comprising all three soil index properties mentioned above (SPT-N, CPT-q and Vs), are available for the campus of IIT Patna (about 500 acres in size). The study presents and compares hazard maps in terms of factor of safety for liquefaction and liquefaction potential index for all three types of field test results. Susceptibility for lateral spreading is also discussed. As a significant part of the campus subgrade consists of fine-grained soils, the potential for cyclic softening of these soils, as addressed by various SoP methods, is also analysed. All three methods indicated various degrees of liquefaction susceptibility for the “safety criterion” (assuming structural damage without collapse). The study analyses the details of the three approaches and concludes that the CPT-based method along with a comprehensive procedure for assessing liquefaction potential of soil with high fines content may be the most appropriate for a site such as the IIT Patna Campus.

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Availability of Data and Materials

All data, models, or code that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Code Availability

No code was generated or used during the study.


  1. 1.

    Detailed numerical results are listed in Table S1, in the supplementary material.

  2. 2.

    The detailed FOS estimation using MASW data for test location M2 is shown in Table S2 in the supplementary material.

  3. 3.

    Detailed numerical results are listed in Table S3, in the supplementary material.


a, b :

Curve fitting parameters for use with Vs criterion for evaluating liquefaction resistance

a max :

Peak acceleration at the ground surface

α, β :

Coefficients, that are functions of fines content used to correct (N1)60 to [(N1)60]CS

C B :

Correction factor for borehole diameter

C E :

Correction factor for hammer energy

C N :

Correction factor for overburden pressure applied to SPT

C Q :

Correction factor for overburden pressure applied to CPT

C R :

Correction factor for drilling rod length

C S :

Correction factor for split spoon sampler without liners


Cone penetration test


Measured cone resistance in a CPT test


Cyclic stress ratio


Cyclic resistance ratio

CRR7.5 :

Cyclic resistance ratio for Mw = 7.5 earthquakes


East Patna fault

F :

Normalised friction ratio


Severity factor

f s :

Sleeve friction measured with CPT


Fines content


Factor of safety


Frequency of failures

I c :

Soil behaviour type index for use with CPT liquefaction criterion

K c :

Correction factor for grain characteristics applied to CPT

K H :

Thin-layer correction factor for use with CPT

K α :

Correction factor for soil layers subjected to large static shear stresses

K σ :

Correction factor for soil layers subjected to large static normal stresses


Liquid limit


Liquefaction potential index


Multi-channel analysis of surface wave


Magnitude scaling factor

M w :

Moment magnitude

n :

Exponent used to normalize CPT resistance for overburden stress

(N1)60 :

Corrected standard penetration resistance

(N1)60cs :

(N1)60 Adjusted to equivalent clean-sand value


Peak ground acceleration

P a :

Atmospheric pressure, approximately 100 kPa

Q tn :

Normalised and dimensionless cone penetration resistance with a variable stress exponent n

Q t1 :

Normalised and dimensionless cone penetration resistance with the stress exponent for stress normalisation n = 1

(Q tn)cs :

Normalised and dimensionless clean sand equivalent cone penetration resistance with a variable stress exponent n

σ v 0 :

Total vertical stress

σ v 0′:

Effective vertical stress

r d :

Shear stress reduction coefficient


Soil behaviour type


Standard penetration test


Measured number of blows in SPT test


Spectral analysis of surface waves

τ av :

Average cyclic shear stress

V S :

Measured shear-wave velocity

V S1 :

Overburden-stress corrected shear-wave velocity

V S1 * :

Limiting upper value of VS1 for liquefaction occurrences

z :

Depth below ground surface (m)


West Patna fault


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Author (s) would like to thank Institute works department of IIT Patna for providing test data of SPT, CPT, and undergraduate student Mr Ashutosh Singh for providing some of the MASW test data conducted within the campus. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


The first author acknowledges the Department of Higher Education (Govt. of India) for providing the funding in present research work to carry out the study for which no specific grant number is allotted.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Data collection and analysis were performed by Mr Nishant Nilay and Dr Pradipta Chakrabortty. Mr Nishant Nilay wrote the first draft of the manuscript, and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Pradipta Chakrabortty.

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Nilay, N., Chakrabortty, P. & Popescu, R. Liquefaction Hazard Mapping Using Various Types of Field Test Data. Indian Geotech J (2021).

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  • Liquefaction potential index
  • Standard penetration test
  • Cone penetration test
  • Shear wave velocity