#Liquefaction is a phenomenon in which the strength and stiffness of a soil is reduced by earthquake shaking or other rapid dynamic loading.
Liquefaction occurs in saturated soils, that is, soils in which the space between the individual particles is completely filled with water. This water exerts a pressure on the soil particles that influences how tightly the particles themselves are pressed together. Prior to an earthquake, the water pressure is relatively low. However, earthquake shaking can cause the water pressure to increase to the point where the soil particles can readily move with respect to each other.
The effects of soil liquefaction on the built environment can be extremely damaging. Buildings whose foundations bear directly on sand which liquefies will experience a sudden loss of support, which will result in drastic and irregular settlement of the building causing structural damage, including cracking of foundations and damage to the building structure, or leaving the structure unserviceable, even without structural damage.
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