Protecting pipelines from catastrophic effects of earthquakes

There are several ways to lessen the impact of earthquakes on infrastructure. One involves using expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam as a seismic buffer for buried structures and rigid retaining walls. Geofoam has been shown to reduce seismic forces on rigid retaining walls. A major earthquake could cause buried pipelines to burst, but a geofoam cover could withstand fault displacement and reduce the force on the pipe by four times. A geofoam cover on top of a buried pipeline will reduce lateral, longitudinal, and vertical forces on the pipe, while the surrounding ground undergoes deformation. The low mass density of geofoam reduces vertical and horizontal stresses on buried utilities. EPS geofoam is being used in a number of projects in Utah, including in light rail and on pipeline replacements.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: pp 40-43
  • Serial:

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01497791
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 7 2013 3:22PM