Initial Liquefaction Hazard Mapping of Northwest Tennessee Based on Liquefaction Probability Curves


Liquefaction is one of the consequences of earthquakes in which loose saturated soils lose shear strength due to the dynamic loading of the earthquake. Soil liquefaction causes serious damage; therefore, it is important to evaluate the liquefaction potential of areas near seismic zones. The main objective of this research is to develop a Liquefaction Probability Curve (LPC) to generate initial liquefaction hazard maps for Lake County Tennessee, which is within the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) and is vulnerable to seismic risk. The geotechnical database utilized for developing the LPC includes information on water table depths, soil classifications, and Standard Penetration Test (SPT) N-values. The liquefaction hazard maps for Lake County are probabilistic (5% and 2% probability of being exceeded in 50 years) and for multiple earthquake scenarios. For this study, the liquefaction hazard maps are presented for the probability of moderate to severe liquefaction. The probabilistic liquefaction hazard maps show 80%-100% (2% in 50 years) and about 75% (5% in 50 years) probability of liquefaction in Lake County which corresponds with the observed prevalence of sand blows and liquefaction features in the county. Liquefaction hazard maps show a high hazard in Lake County for a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.9 New Madrid scenario and a low hazard for an Mwof 5.8 hypothetical Lake County earthquake.

Publication Title

Geotechnical Special Publication

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