Evaluation of liquefaction potential in an intermountain Quaternary lacustrine basin (Fucino basin, central Italy)

P. Boncio,  S. Amoroso, G. Vessia, M. Francescone, M. Nardone, P. Monaco, D. Famiani, D. Di Naccio, A. Mercuri, M. R. Manuel, F. Galadini and G. Milana
Source: Bull Earthquake Eng
Year: 2017
DOI: 10.1007/s10518-017-0201-z

In this study, we analyze the susceptibility to liquefaction of the Pozzone site, which is located on the northern side of the Fucino lacustrine basin in central Italy. In 1915, this region was struck by a M 7.0 earthquake, which produced widespread coseismic surface effects that were interpreted to be liquefaction-related. However, the interpretation of these phenomena at the Pozzone site is not straightforward. Furthermore, the site is characterized by an abundance of fine-grained sediments, which are not typically found in liquefiable soils. Therefore, in this study, we perform a number of detailed stratigraphic and geotechnical investigations (including continuous-coring borehole, CPTu, SDMT, SPT, and geotechnical laboratory tests) to better interpret these 1915 phenomena and to evaluate the liquefaction potential of a lacustrine environment dominated by fine-grained sedimentation. The upper 18.5 m of the stratigraphic succession comprises fine-grained sediments, including four strata of coarser sediments formed by interbedded layers of sand, silty sand and sandy silt. These strata, which are interpreted to represent the frontal lobes of an alluvial fan system within a lacustrine succession, are highly susceptible to liquefaction. We also find evidence of paleo-liquefaction, dated between 12.1–10.8 and 9.43–9.13 kyrs ago, occurring at depths of 2.1–2.3 m. These data, along with the aforementioned geotechnical analyses, indicate that this site would indeed be liquefiable in a 1915-like earthquake. Although we found a broad agreement among CPTu, DMT and shear wave velocity ‘‘simplified procedures’’ in detecting the liquefaction potential of the Pozzone soil, our results suggest that the use and comparison of different in situ techniques are highly recommended for reliable estimates of the cyclic liquefaction resistance in lacustrine sites characterized by high content of fine-grained soils. In geologic environments similar to the one analysed in this work, where it is difficult to detect liquefiable layers, one can identify sites that are susceptible to liquefaction only by using detailed stratigraphic reconstructions, in situ characterization, and laboratory analyses. This has implications for basic (Level 1) seismic microzonation mapping, which typically relies on the use of empirical evaluations based on geologic maps and pre-existing sub-surface data (i.e., age and type of deposits, prevailing grain size, with particular attention paid to clean sands, and depth of the water table).


Liquefaction , Paleo-liquefaction, Fine-grained sediments, Lacustrine deposit, Fucino basin, Apennines