Evaluating Liquefaction Potential of Willamette Silt using Cyclic Direct Simple Shear Test

Arash Khosravifar, PSU-CEE


A magnitude 9.0 earthquake by the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) is believed to be capable of causing widespread soil liquefaction in the Pacific Northwest (PACNW). Affected infrastructures include highway bridges specifically the ones crossing the Columbia and Willamette rivers and along the I-5 corridor. ODOT struggles with the seismic analysis especially in Willamette Silts. To evaluate the liquefaction susceptibility of Willamette Silts, we need to test soil samples in laboratory using an advanced equipment called cyclic direct simple shear (cyclic DSS). A cyclic DSS device was recently purchased by the CEE Department at PSU which uniquely positions us to conduct research that benefits regional needs. To perform these tests, we need undisturbed soil samples extracted from the ground. We have come into an agreement with ODOT and local consultants to send us undisturbed soil samples from their project sites over the next few years. To fulfill these tasks, we need to properly train a student to perform these lab tests. The NITC Diversity Grant will help training one undergraduate student to be able to perform cyclic DSS tests. The identified student has shown interest in pursuing a graduate degree in 2016-17 AY. Local consultants (GRI) have agreed to help training the student in sample preparation, which is one of the important steps involved in cyclic DSS tests. This fund will help the PI in another proposal pursuit to USGS (due May 22) to evaluate the effects of Cascadia scenario on liquefaction susceptibility of Willamette Silt. 


These test will eventually be used to determine if Willamette Silt will Liquefy in a major earthquake. 

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
In Progress
End Date:
December 31,2017
UTC Grant Cycle:
NITC 16 Diversity Grant
UTC Funding:

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