Site investigation firm Fugro Group has been assisting oil company BP with its development of the Shah Deniz Field in the South Caspian Sea.
The area has more than half of the known mud volcanoes in the world, and there is also evidence of faulting, massive slumping and erosion features.
Fugro's laboratory in Hemel Hempstead carried out a comprehensive suite of cyclic and dynamic tests in each significant soil unit. The results were used to formulate soil models to predict the behaviour of each soil unit under seismic loading.
Fugro says while there is increased demand for triaxial tests incorporating local radial and axial strain gauges and bender elements in the UK, it is insufficient to support this advanced testing facility. As a result the laboratory often becomes involved with projects in seismically active areas overseas.