Loose sand and silt that is saturated with water can behave like a liquid when shaken by an earthquake.

When a building is built on solid bedrock, under which there is a loose layer of sandy soil or soil that has been saturated with water, in case of vibrations of a powerful earthquake, this soil will behave like quicksand. When there is liquefaction, houses and buildings might sink into the soil and the ground surface becomes very uneven and unstable. Roads and floors break and spillage of sand and water from the soil may happen.