The conditions under which liquefaction effects are known to have occurred are reviewed and their generic cause is discussed. Special attention is given to the delay with which liquefaction effects appear on surface deposits originally stable. It is suggested that little damage to structures on poor soil can occur as the direct result of severe earthquake shaking and that damage observed is almost entirely due to foundation failures, ground settlements and tilting. Field evidence suggests that earthquakes are incapable of densifying originally loose deposits to a stable mass, and that such deposits neither experience nor transmit severe shaking.

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