Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


College of Engineering


Robb Moss

Advisor Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


On December 22nd, 2003, the Mw=6.5 San Simeon earthquake occurred 12 kilometers east of San Simeon, California, causing damage to buildings, roads, and other infrastructure throughout the central coast. The community of Oceano, 80 kilometers southeast of the epicenter, experienced damage to foundations, roads, and utilities due to liquefaction and lateral spreading. The unique geologic environment in Oceano caused a local amplification of ground motions, liquefaction, and lateral spreading. This study entailed developing ten liquefaction case histories from Oceano during the 2003 San Simeon earthquake. Four of the ten case histories are liquefaction cases and six are non-liquefaction cases, with Cyclic Stress Ratio (CSR) ranging from 0.17 to 0.43 and average corrected cone tip resistance (qc1) ranging from 2.67 to 23.53 kN/m^2. Subsurface data used to represent the geologic conditions in each case history included CPT soundings provided by the United States Geological Survey (Holzer et al., 2004). Ground motion data used to represent the earthquake conditions in each case history included the nearest relatively free field ground motion recordings from the SLO Rec Center Seismic Monitoring Station provided by the PEER strong motion center (PEER Ground Motions Database, 2003). CPT soundings were grouped together to develop representative case histories, allowing for averaging of parameters. The stratum with the single highest potential for liquefaction was selected and used as the ‘critical layer’ in each case history. To accurately represent the ground motion felt by each critical layer, a site response model was used to calculate average shear stress, which was used to calculate Cyclic Stress Ratio. The site response model was built using DEEPSOIL V6.1 with measured seismic shear wave velocities. Velocities were measured using passive geophysical methods in conjunction with Spatial Autocorrelation (SPAC) methods to process the data into shear wave velocity profiles. Measured velocities ranged from approximately 117 to 469 meters per second at depths ranging from 0 to 50 meters below the ground and were normally dispersive.