San Francisco Bay Region Geology and Geologic Hazards
Introduction > What Can I
A cooperative project with the California Geological Survey
What Can I Do?
Liquefaction can do great damage where it occurs during an earthquake, but the major cause of damage in an earthquake is shaking. Earthquake-induced landslides and surface fault rupture are other hazards of concern. The whole range of earthquake hazards should thus be addressed together. The way this is done will depend on the objective or the site/structure. For many this will be evaluating hazard to a home, but for others it may be for designing new construction or making land use decisions.
The actions one should take in an area subject to liquefaction depend on the use and occupants of the structure, the degree of hazard, the topographic setting, one's willingness to accept risk, and the degree to which the hazard is understood and quantified. If the three factors necessary for liquefaction are thought to exist at a site, then obtaining the advice of an expert geologist or geotechnical engineer is recommended.
Once the liquefaction hazard is identified and characterized, methods of accommodation or mitigation can be considered. Mitigation is accomplished through a variety of approaches, including: (1) avoiding hazardous areas, (2) purchasing insurance to cover anticipated losses, (3) "improving" the ground so it is less susceptible to liquefaction or so that if liquefaction does occur the amount of surface deformation is reduced, and (4) fortifying structures to withstand liquefaction of underlying soils.
The table below shows some of the ground improvement and structural solutions that are available to reduce hazard from liquefaction.