The Open Collections website will be undergoing maintenance on Wednesday December 7th from 9pm to 11pm PST. The site may be temporarily unavailable during this time.

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Nonlinear seismic ground response of shallow sand sites McAllister, Graeme


Predicting the ground response to the propagation of seismic waves is one of the most important aspects of geotechnical engineering. Advanced soil constitutive models provide significant opportunity to improve the understanding of nonlinear ground response during a seismic event, and offer the capability of simulating complex nonlinear soil behaviour which is not captured by means of traditional ground response analyses in geotechnical engineering. Moreover, observations of distinctive nonlinear soil behaviour during recent large earthquake events such as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake point towards the need to more reliably simulate realistic soil behaviour in order to understand the complex dynamic response of soils. The intent of this thesis is to utilize the SANISAND bounding surface plasticity model based on the work of Dafalias and Manzari (2004) to simulate the response of shallow sand deposits to a number of earthquake motions, with the aim of evaluating the ability of the model to simulate relatively complex nonlinear soil behaviour. Furthermore, both total and effective stress analysis techniques are carried out in order to highlight the importance of modeling the interaction between the pore fluid phase and the soil solid. For this purpose, two sites are analyzed, including a case history of a real downhole seismograph array and a generic site. The capability of the SANISAND model to simulate the phenomenon of high frequency dilation pulses is also explored. The SANISAND constitutive model is shown to adequately simulate the seismic ground response of a shallow sand soil column at a real downhole seismic array in Sendai, Japan by comparison to surface seismograph recordings for several earthquake events on the east coast of Japan. Soil permeability in the effective stress analyses is influential in the dynamic response of the soil to earthquake motions. Furthermore, modeling the pore fluid – soil solid interaction in an effective stress analysis is shown to be important for shallow medium dense sand sites subjected to cyclic mobility and strain stiffening. High frequency ground motion during the seismic response of a generic 10 m deep sand site is suggested to be caused by acceleration pulses as a result of soil dilation.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada