The Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has announced that Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute earthquake engineering experts Ricardo Dobry and Tarek Abdoun have won a prestigious paper award.
The pair have secured the Thomas A Middlebrooks Award for a second year in a row for a paper that ASCE’s has said develops tools that could prove useful in the prediction of future behavior in seismic regions.
The Thomas A Middlebrooks Award is presented to the author or authors of a paper published by the ASCE judged worthy of special commendation for its merit as a contribution to geotechnical engineering.
The paper Two Case Histories Demonstrating the Effect of Past Earthquakes on Liquefaction Resistance of Silty Sand was published in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.
The paper compares case histories of two earthquakes, the 2010 El-Mayor Cucapah earthquake in California’s Imperial Valley and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in northern California. Two sites from each earthquake that involved silty sand layers were examined to determine why one experienced liquefaction – a phenomenon whereby a saturated or partially saturated soil substantially loses strength and stiffness in response to an applied stress – while the other did not.
The researchers determined that a prior history of high seismic activity in the Imperial Valley, corroborated by results from centrifuge and large-scale experiments, provided the most probable explanation for the site’s higher resistance to liquefaction. The results as well as the methodology developed in the paper could be helpful when analysing the observed high liquefaction resistance of sandy sites located in other seismic regions.