Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

The research group of Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering deals with topics typical of both the engineering seismology and the seismic geotechnique. The activities related to the engineering seismology concern:

  • Seismic hazard assessment at a specific site or for an extended area (seismic macrozonation) by probabilistic methods;
  • Computation of iso-probable response spectra with standard and smoothed seismicity approaches;
  • Disaggregation of seismic hazard and definition of scenario events;
  • Selection of spectrum- and seismo-compatible real accelerograms to be used as seismic action for dynamic analyses;
  • Definition of deterministic maps of ground shaking by the numerical simulation of earthquakes scenario with the calculation of synthetic seismograms using a kinematic model of extended source;
  • Definition of seismic microzonation maps for both the seismic shaking and co-seismic or induced effects;
  • Study of the effects induced on the shaking from the vicinity of the considered site to active seismogenetic faults (e.g. polarization, directivity, permanent displacement);
  • Feasibility studies of seismic early-warning systems.


The activities concerning the seismic geotechnique include:

  • Geotechnical-seismic and geophysical characterization of soil deposits by non-invasive, field seismic techniques based on the properties of Rayleigh waves;
  • Evaluation of site effects due to geological, geomorphologic and local geotechnical conditions: local litho-stratigraphic and topographic amplification, effects of basin edges due to strong lateral contrasts of mechanical impedance, effect of spatial variability of soil properties (by 1D and 2D stochastic analyses);
  • Estimation of collateral effects induced by the seismic ground shaking: co-seismic and post-seismic instability of natural scopes, liquefaction, soil settlement and lateral displacements;
  • Definition of fragility curves for different typologies of seaport wharves and for tunnels;
  • Seismic assessment of strategic structures of geotechnical interest (e.g. earthfill dams);
  • Definition of damage maps for areas of relevant geotechnical interest, as seaport areas;
  • Development of GIS (Geographic Information System) platforms for areas and structures of relevant geotechnical interest (e.g. airports);
  • Seismic design of foundation systems, earth-retaining structures and underground facilities (e.g. metropolitan tunnels);
  • Study and numerical modelling of problems of dynamic soil-structure interaction.
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