Deformation of embankments due to liquefaction during 1994 Northridge earthquake

Jean-Pierre Bardet, C. A. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The 1994 Northridge and 1971 San Fernando earthquakes subjected the Lower and Upper San Fernando Dams of the Van Norman Complex in the San Fernando Valley, California, to strong near-source ground motions. In 1994, these earth dams, which were out of service and retained only a few meters of water, extensively cracked and settled because of liquefaction of their hydraulic fill. The Lower San Fernando Dam moved more than 15 cm upstream as the hydraulic fill liquefied beneath its upstream slope. The Upper San Fernando Dam moved even more, and it deformed in a complex three-dimensional pattern. The responses of the Lower and Upper San Fernando Dams during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, although less significant than in 1971, provided the geotechnical engineering community with two useful case histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1633
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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