During seismic events, buried pipelines are subjected to deformation by seismic ground motion. In such cases, it is important to ensure the integrity of the pipeline. Both beam-mode and shell-mode buckling may occur in the event of compressive loading induced by seismic ground motion. In this study, the beam-mode buckling of a buried pipeline that occurred after the 2007 Niigataken Chuetsu-oki earthquake in Japan is investigated. A simple formula for estimating the critical buckling strain, which is the strain at the peak load, is derived, and the formula is validated by finite-element analysis. In the formula, the critical buckling strain increases with the pipeline diameter and hardness of the surrounding soil. By comparing the critical strain derived in this study for beam-mode buckling with the critical strain derived in a past study for shell-mode buckling, the formula facilitates the selection of the mode to be considered for evaluating the earthquake resistance of a pipeline. In addition to the critical buckling strain, a method to estimate the deformation caused by seismic ground motion is proposed; the method can be used to evaluate the earthquake resistance of buried pipelines. This method uses finite-element analyses, and the soil–pipe interaction is considered. This method is used to reproduce the actual beam-mode buckling observed after the Niigataken Chuetsu-oki earthquake, and the earthquake resistance of a buried pipeline with general properties is evaluated as an example.

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