Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia

Seismic Engineering Basis



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Engenharia Civil



Teacher in charge

João Paulo Bilé Serra

Weekly hours


Teaching language



At the end of this course the successful students will be able:

a. To define earthquake mechanisms of tectonic origin;

b. To analyze the seismic surface motions defined by accelerograms;

c. To evaluate the seismic design action of structures based on national legislation and structural Eurocodes;

d. To analyze the seismic response of structures represented by means of one degree of freedom linear oscillators;

e. To evaluate dynamic soil properties by means of laboratory and in situ cylic testing;

f. To analyze the seismic response of surface soil deposits and thus evaluate the seismic site effects;

g. To analyze the effects of the deformability of the foundation ground in the response of soil deposits;

h. To evaluate soil liquefaction susceptibility;

i. To analyze the seismic response of earth dams by different methods.


Sucessfull completion of Soil Mechanics course

Subject matter

Chapter 1.  Impact of earthquakes on communities. Historical earthquakes. 

Chapter 2. Generation mechanisms of earthquakes.  Faults and earthquakes. generation. 

Chapter 3. Seismic waves. Focus. Epicentre. Epicentral distance. 

Chapter 4.Characterization of ground motions in seismology. Earthquake moment. Earthquake magnitude. Scales of magnitude and intensity. Strong-motion measurements. Amplitude parameters.Frequency content parameters. Response spectra.

Chapter 5. Identification and evaluation of earthquake sources. Probabilistic hazard analysis. Recurrence times of seismic events. Probability of exceedance. Attenuation relationships for seismic parameters.Eurocode 8 (design of structures for earthquake resistance).

Chapter 6. Influence of dynamic soil properties on earthquake surface ground motions (local site effects). Cyclic behaviour of soils. Linear hysteretic model. Curves of variation of shear modulus and damping ratio with cyclic distortion. Equivalent linear approach. Ambraseys solutions.

Chapter 7. Soils’ liquefaction potential. Methods of liquefaction assessment by means of SPT and CPT in situ soil testing (Eurocode 8).