Responses of large-diameter buried pipes to earthquakes

J. P. Bardet, C. A. Davis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


This paper reviews the field observations and analyses on 61 corrugated metal pipes (CMP) 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 of Los Angeles, California. Ground motions were extensively recorded within the study area during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. During the earthquake 28 of the small diameter CMPs performed well while the 32 large diameter CMPs had performances ranging from no damage to complete collapse. The investigation was initially prompted by the collapse of the 2.4-m diameter drain line of the Lower San Fernando Dam (LSFD). A detailed investigation revealed that this particular failure could not be attributed solely to either large ground accelerations, or liquefaction of hydraulic fills. Additional field investigations identified ground strains as the main cause of damage to large-diameter CMPs. Based on the 32 large-diameter CMPs data set, the factors controlling CMPs performance were identified and a simplified pseudo-static method of analysis was proposed for evaluating the response of large diameter flexible underground pipes to earthquakes. Peak ground velocity was found to be a more reliable parameter for analyzing pipe damage than peak ground acceleration. These analysis results are useful for the seismic design and strengthening of flexible buried conduits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEarthquake geotechnical engineering. Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on earthquake geotechnical engineering, Lisbon, June 1999. (3 vols.).
EditorsP.S. Seco e Pinto, P.S. Seco e Pinto
PublisherA. A. Balkema
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9058091163
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes
EventProceednings of the 2nd international conference on earthquake geotechnical engineering 1999. - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: Jun 21 2099Jun 25 2099


OtherProceednings of the 2nd international conference on earthquake geotechnical engineering 1999.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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