Wave-induced seabed instability, either momentary liquefaction or shear failure, is an important topic in ocean and coastal engineering. Many factors, such as seabed properties and wave parameters, affect the seabed instability. A non-dimensional parameter is proposed in this paper to evaluate the occurrence of momentary liquefaction. This parameter includes the properties of the soil and the wave. The determination of the wave-induced liquefaction depth is also suggested based on this non-dimensional parameter. As an example, a two-dimensional seabed with finite thickness is numerically treated with the EFGM meshless method developed early for wave-induced seabed responses. Parametric study is carried out to investigate the effect of wavelength, compressibility of pore fluid, permeability and stiffness of porous media, and variable stiffness with depth on the seabed response with three criteria for liquefaction. It is found that this non-dimensional parameter is a good index for identifying the momentary liquefaction qualitatively, and the criterion of liquefaction with seepage force can be used to predict the deepest liquefaction depth. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.