Chen Longwei, Yuan Xiaoming, Cao Zhenzhong,et al
Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration
Wenchuan earthquake; post-earthquake investigation; liquefaction; macrophenomena
On May 12, 2008 at 14:28, a catastrophic magnitude Ms 8.0 earthquake struck the Sichuan Province of China. The epicenter was located at Wenchuan (31.00ºN, 103.40ºE). Liquefaction macrophenomena and corresponding destruction was observed throughout a vast area of 500 km long and 200 km wide following the earthquake. This paper illustrates the geographic distribution of the liquefaction and the relationship between liquefaction behavior and seismic intensity, and summarizes the liquefaction macrophenomena, including sandboils and waterspouts, ground subsidence, ground fissures etc., and relevant liquefaction features. A brief summary of the structural damage caused by liquefaction is presented and discussed. Based on comparisons with liquefaction phenomena observed in the 1976 Tangshan and 1975 Haicheng earthquakes, preliminary analyses were performed, which revealed some new features of liquefaction behavior and associated issues arising from this event. The site investigation indicated that the spatial non-uniformity of liquefaction distribution was obvious and most of the liquefied sites were located in regions of seismic intensity VIII. However, liquefaction phenomena at ten different sites in regions of seismic intensity VI were also observed for the fi rst time in China mainland. Sandboils and waterspouts ranged from centimeters to tens of meters, with most between 1 m to 3 m. Dramatically high water/sand ejections, e.g., more than 10 m, were observed at four different sites. The sand ejections included silty sand, fi ne sand, medium sand, course sand and gravel, but the ejected sand amount was less than that in the 1976 Tangshan earthquake. Possible liquefaction of natural gravel soils was observed for the fi rst time in China mainland.