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The State-of-the-Practice in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering relies heavily on the use of numerical methods and constitutive models that have been developed and calibrated under simple 1D cyclic conditions. The results are then corrected or modified subjectively (i.e., based on experience) to account for multidirectional shaking conditions with unknown levels of conservatism. As a result, a significant research effort has been focused on assessing the behavior of soils (and structures) subjected to multidirectional seismic excitation. The motivation ranges from addressing seismic site response analysis and the behavior of submarine slopes to the behavior of structures and foundations in soft or potentially liquefiable soils. An important component of this effort was to obtain high quality “single element” or large-scale laboratory testing data to guide the development and calibration of numerical tools capable of predicting cyclic and permanent deformations as well as soil failure under more complex multidirectional loading conditions. The talk will focus on two applications: a) the behavior of liquefaction-prone cohesionless soils and b) the behavior of interfaces (i.e., p-y springs) describing the response of deep foundations in soft clayey soils.


Juan M. Pestana received the Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Caracas, Venezuela in 1985 and the Master of Science and Science Doctorate degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988 and 1994, respectively.

Dr. Pestana serves a Senior Principal for Geosyntec Consultants in Acton, Massachusetts where he practices as a geotechnical and geotechnical earthquake engineering consultant since 2016 with over 30 years of consulting experience. Previously, he served as a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley since 1994. While at Berkeley, his research focused on advanced constitutive modeling and testing of soils as well as numerical modeling in geotechnical and geotechnical earthquake engineering. Dr. Pestana has received several prestigious awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER award (1996), the ASCE Arthur Casagrande Award (1998), the Research Council of Norway Fellowship at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (1999), the ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (2003) and the Shamsher Prakash Research Prize (2004). Dr. Pestana served as Program Director of the Geoenvironmental Engineering and Geohazards Mitigation program of the Civil and Mechanics Systems Division at the National Science Foundation in 2004-2005 and as Associate Principal for ARUP in San Francisco in 2006-2007. In 2010, he received the prestigious UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award. Since 2014 he served as the Chair of the UC Academic Senate Committee of Teaching and Director of the UC Berkeley Pavement Research Center. He retired in July 2017 and is a professor emeritus from UC Berkeley.

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