Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Lateral Spreading

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_215




Lateral spreading is the finite, lateral movement of gently to steeply sloping, saturated soil deposits caused by earthquake-induced liquefaction.


The movement of soil deposits undergoing lateral spreading can range from a few centimeters to a few meters, and can cause significant damage to buildings, bridges, pipelines, and other elements of infrastructure. Lateral spreading often occurs along riverbanks and shorelines where loose, saturated sandy soils are commonly encountered at shallow depths. Structures supported on shallow foundations, pavements, and buried pipelines are particularly susceptible to damage from lateral spreading.

Lateral spreading occurs as the generation of porewater pressure in the soil resulting from earthquake shaking reduces the stiffness and strength of the soil. Under the action of the static stresses required to maintain equilibrium under sloping ground conditions, each cycle of seismic stress causes incremental...
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  1. Idriss, I. M., and Boulanger, R. W., 2008. Soil Liquefaction During Earthquakes. Oakland: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.Google Scholar
  2. Kramer, S. L., 1996. Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA