Responses of buried corrugated metal pipes to earthquakes

C. A. Davis, J. P. Bardet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study describes the results of field investigations and analyses carried out on 61 corrugated metal pipes (CMP) that were shaken by the 1994 Northridge earthquake. These CMPs, which include 29 small-diameter (below 107 cm) CMPs and 32 large-diameter (above 107 cm) CMPs, are located within a 10 km2 area encompassing the Van Norman Complex in the Northern San Fernando Valley, in Los Angeles, California. During the Northridge earthquake, ground movements were extensively recorded within the study area. Twenty-eight of the small-diameter CMPs performed well while the 32 large-diameter CMPs underwent performances ranging from no damage to complete collapse. The main cause of damage to the large-diameter CMPs was found to be the large ground strains. Based on this unprecedented data set, the factors controlling the seismic performance of the 32 large-diameter CMPs were identified and framed into a pseudostatic analysis method for evaluating the response of large diameter flexible underground pipes subjected to ground strain. The proposed analysis, which is applicable to transient and permanent strains, is capable of describing the observed performance of large-diameter CMPs during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It indicates that peak ground velocity is a more reliable parameter for analyzing pipe damage than is peak ground acceleration. Results of this field investigation and analysis are useful for the seismic design and strengthening of flexible buried conduits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-39
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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