Ground failure was the most prominent geotechnical engineering feature of the 21 January 2003 Mw 7.6 Tecomán earthquake. Ground failure impacted structures, industrial facilities, roads, water supply canals, and other critical infrastructure in the state of Colima and in parts of the neighboring states of Jalisco and Michoacán. Landslides and soil liquefaction were the most common type of ground failure, followed by seismic compression of unsaturated materials. Reinforced earth structures generally performed well during the earthquake, though some structures experienced permanent lateral deformations up to 10 cm. Different ground improvement techniques had been used to enhance the liquefaction resistance of several sites in the region, all of which performed well and exhibited no signs of damage or significant ground deformation. Earth dams in the region experienced some degree of permanent deformation but remained fully functional after the earthquake.

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