Intense ground shaking during a large earthquake causes waterlogged silt and sand to lose its strength. Once this happens, the sediment liquefies and the solid sediment behaves like a fluid. Liquefied sediment cannot support the weight of whatever is above it. Under that weight, the liquefied sediment is forced into any available cracks and crevasses, and breaks out to the surface as sand volcanoes. Liquefaction causes damage to the land and infrastructure. It can also cause the ground surface to subside or large cracks to open through lateral spreading.
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