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Volume 6, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: Tsunami hazard from slope instability

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 6, 97-107, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-6-97-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  20 Jan 2006

20 Jan 2006

Factors affecting seismic response of submarine slopes

G. Biscontin1 and J. M. Pestana2 G. Biscontin and J. M. Pestana
  • 1Texas A&M University, Department of Civil Engineering, TAMU 3136, College Station, TX 77843-3136, USA
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 421 Davis Hall, University of California, 94720-1710 Berkeley, USA

Abstract. The response of submerged slopes on the continental shelf to seismic or storm loading has become an important element in the risk assessment for offshore structures and "local" tsunami hazards worldwide. The geological profile of these slopes typically includes normally consolidated to lightly overconsolidated soft cohesive soils with layer thickness ranging from a few meters to hundreds of meters. The factor of safety obtained from pseudo-static analyses is not always a useful measure for evaluating the slope response, since values less than one do not necessarily imply slope failure with large movements of the soil mass.

This paper addresses the relative importance of different factors affecting the response of submerged slopes during seismic loading. The analyses use a dynamic finite element code which includes a constitutive law describing the anisotropic stress-strain-strength behavior of normally consolidated to lightly overconsolidated clays. The model also incorporates anisotropic hardening to describe the effect of different shear strain and stress histories as well as bounding surface principles to provide realistic descriptions of the accumulation of the plastic strains and excess pore pressure during successive loading cycles. The paper presents results from parametric site response analyses on slope geometry and layering, soil material parameters, and input ground motion characteristics. The predicted maximum shear strains, permanent deformations, displacement time histories and maximum excess pore pressure development provide insight of slope performance during a seismic event.

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