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Unit information: Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering in 2020/21

Unit name Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
Unit code CENGM0074
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Dimitris Karamitros
Open unit status Not open

Geomechanics (CENG20018) or equivalent,

Design of Geotechnical Structures (CENG30005) or equivalent,

Advanced Structural Analysis (CENG30010) or equivalent.



School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


· To enhance students' geotechnical capabilities in analysing geo-data and practical problems. Topics may include ground investigation and in-situ testing techniques, interpretation of test data and empirical correlations, selection of design parameters and factors.

· To develop students’ awareness of the significance of geotechnical conditions on the seismic performance of civil engineering systems and enable them to employ basic geotechnical and earthquake engineering design methodologies.

· To prepare students for the challenges of the forthcoming expansion of engineering infrastructures into areas of poor geotechnical conditions and high seismicity.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, the students will be able to:

  1. appreciate the range of geotechnical tests and instrumentation available, and know their advantages and disadvantages;
  2. interpret some geotechnical testing data
  3. explain how to obtain the necessary soil characteristics, in order to classify a site in terms of seismic response
  4. understand some of the important factors which govern the choice of soil parameters for design and have some ability in their selection
  5. explain the engineering (non-seismological) aspects of earthquake ground motions and be able to incorporate them into design
  6. explain how subsoil conditions affect ground motion characteristics and be able to quantify this effect for engineering design purposes
  7. relate the basic principles of non-linear dynamics
  8. assess slope stability and design retaining structures taking into account seismic actions
  9. restate the concept and the significance of performance-based design
  10. explain the principles of dynamic soil-foundation-structure interaction
  11. relate liquefaction-related hazards and assess liquefaction susceptibility, quantify its effects and design the appropriate mitigation measures
  12. appreciate the relationships between theory and practice; design and construction – including the role of modelling in geotechnical practice and research

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

Single coursework submission – 100% (All ILOs)

Reading and References

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

Chopra, A.K. (2014). Dynamics of Structures. Pearson.

Wood, D.M. (1990). Soil behaviour and critical state soil mechanics. Cambridge University Press.

Tomlinson, M. & Woodward, J. (2015). Pile Design and Construction Practice, 6th Ed. CRC Press.

Eurocodes 7 and 8 (Available on-line via the University Library)