Liquefaction caused by the 2009 Olancha, California (USA), M5.2 earthquake

Engineering Geology
By: , and 



The October 3, 2009 (01:16:00 UTC), Olancha M5.2 earthquake caused extensive liquefaction as well as permanent horizontal ground deformation within a 1.2 km2area earthquake in Owens Valley in eastern California (USA). Such liquefaction is rarely observed during earthquakes of M ≤ 5.2. We conclude that subsurface conditions, not unusual ground motion, were the primary factors contributing to the liquefaction. The liquefaction occurred in very liquefiable sands at shallow depth (< 2 m) in an area where the water table was near the land surface. Our investigation is relevant to both geotechnical engineering and geology. The standard engineering method for assessing liquefaction potential, the Seed–Idriss simplified procedure, successfully predicted the liquefaction despite the small earthquake magnitude. The field observations of liquefaction effects highlight a need for caution by earthquake geologists when inferring prehistoric earthquake magnitudes from paleoliquefaction features because small magnitude events may cause such features.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Liquefaction caused by the 2009 Olancha, California (USA), M5.2 earthquake
Series title Engineering Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.enggeo.2010.07.009
Volume 116
Issue 1-2
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Publisher location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Engineering Geology
First page 184
Last page 188
Country United States
State California
City Olancha