Normal fault rupture interaction with strip foundations

I. Anastasopoulos, G. Gazetas, M.F. Bransby, M.C. Davies, A. El Nahas

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    58 Citations (Scopus)


    Observations after earthquakes where surface fault ruptures crossed engineering facilities reveal that some structures survived the rupture almost unscathed. In some cases, the rupture path appears to divert, "avoiding" the structure. Such observations point to an interaction between the propagating rupture, the soil, and the foundation. This paper (i) develops a two-step nonlinear finite-element methodology to study rupture propagation and its interaction with strip foundations; (ii) provides validation through successful Class "A" predictions of centrifuge model tests; and (iii) conducts a parameter study on the interaction of strip foundations with normal fault ruptures. It is shown that a heavily loaded foundation can substantially divert the rupture path, which may avoid outcropping underneath the foundation. The latter undergoes rigid body rotation, often detaching from the soil. Its distress arises mainly from the ensuing loss of support that takes place either at the edges or around its center. The average pressure q on the foundation largely dictates the width of such unsupported spans. Increasing q decreases the unsupported width, reducing foundation distress. The role of q is dual: (1) it compresses the soil, "flattening" fault-induced surface "anomalies" and (2) it changes the stress field underneath the foundation, facilitating rupture diversion. However, even if the rupture is diverted, the foundation may undergo significant stressing, depending on its position relative to the fault outcrop.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)359-370
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


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