Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering (ME)


Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering

First Advisor

Abbie B. Liel

Second Advisor

Ross Corotis

Third Advisor

Shideh Dashti


In northeast India, rapid urbanization and limited available land leads to the construction of multi-story, reinforced concrete frames with masonry infill walls on steep hillsides with weak soils. This thesis analyzes the seismic performance of archetypical hillside reinforced concrete buildings with stepped foundations in Aizawl, Mizoram using the results of incremental dynamic analysis to quantify collapse risk and identify potential failure mechanisms. The findings show that shear critical columns exacerbate structural vulnerabilities created by stepped hillside configurations. In an earthquake, structural failure likely will begin with axial failure of the half-length base columns at the top of the slope, followed by sequential failures in downslope columns. Collapse is predicted to occur from exceedance of column shear capacity in stories supported by half-length columns on stepped, not flat, foundations. The findings demonstrate that improved column shear capacity and above-code detailing may mitigate the seismic vulnerability of Aizawl’s hillside reinforced concrete buildings.