Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

Mechanics II, Soil Mechanics I, Soil Mechanics II, Foundations

Teaching Methods

Theoretical classes with detailed presentation of the concepts, real evidences and theories relative to each topic, including simple practical exercises, based on the regular use of audiovisual equipment. These classes are supplemented with theoretical-practical classes including demonstration in the classroom of physical phenomena or visits to the laboratory to clarify other phenomena or show the operation of testing equipments. The assignments considered for grading are presented in these classes, with a short explanation of the objectives and marking criteria. The students are encouraged to comment the work proposed and carry out discussions on its developments.

Learning Outcomes

Enhancing the understanding regarding the characteristics and effects of dynamic loading, namely when affecting soil massifs and when caused by earthquakes. Introducing, discussing and relating concepts of earthquake geotechnical engineering, from the characteristics of the earthquakes to the different ways how structures can be affected, as well as techniques that can be used to improve soil-structure response. Presenting advanced and empirical techniques for analysis of earthquake geotechnical engineering problems, in order to develop the following competencies: create a solid theoretical basis in the field; depict the complexity of real problems in the field, discerning between advanced solutions, used in special cases, and solutions used in current practice; enhance the capability to analyze and criticize, using innovative working tools; promote the ability to present oral and written sound scientific/technical reports.

Work Placement(s)



1. Introduction to Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering

Importance in modern society

2. Introduction to Seismology

Earthquakes: origin and changing of characteristics during propagation. Implications

3. Analysis of the dynamic response of structures

Damped/undamped O1DF under free/forced vibrations, due to cyclic loads/ base vibration. Resonance. Pseudo-static analysis

4. Earthquake characterisation

Scale, temporal history, amplitude, duration and Fourier and response spectra

5. Soil-structure interaction

Real evidence, causes and qualitative effects. Theoretical and simplified solutions.

6. Soil dynamic properties

Concept. Experimental evaluation: laboratory and field. Strain level.

7. Wave propagation in massifs

Type of solutions and soil models

8. Liquefaction

Problem description. Current design practice and recent advances

9. Ground improvement to mitigate earthquake effects

Densification, drainage, reinforcement and injection/mixing techniques. Geometry and verification

Assessment Methods

Realização de 4 trabalhos propostos durante o semestre : 50.0%
Exam: 50.0%


• Kramer, Steven L. (1996) - Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, Prentice Hall.

• Rebelo, Carlos A. Silva (2004) - Dynamics of Structures, Department of Civil Engineering, FCTUC, Coimbra, Portugal (in Portuguese)

• Coelho,  Paulo A. L. F. (2007) Slides of Theoretical Lectures on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, FCTUC, Coimbra, Portugal (in Portuguese)