Estimating Near-Surface Shear-Wave-Velocity Structures Via Multichannel Analysis of Rayleigh and Love Waves: An Experiment at the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site


Surface-wave analysis has been widely used for near-surface geophysical and geotechnical studies by using the dispersive characteristic of surface waves (Rayleigh or Love waves) to determine subsurface model parameters. Unlike Rayleigh waves, the dispersive nature of Love waves is independent of P-wave velocity in 1D models, which makes Love-wave dispersion curve interpretation simpler than Rayleigh waves. This reduces the degree of nonuniqueness leading to more stable inversion of Love-wave dispersion curves. To estimate the near-surface shear-wave velocities (Vs) using multichannel analysis of Rayleigh (MASW) and Love waves (MALW) for hydrologic characterization, we conducted an experiment at the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site (BHRS, an experimental well field located near Boise, Idaho, USA). We constructed the pseudo-3D velocity structures at the BHRS using both the MASW and MALW methods and compared the results to borehole measurements. We used the 3D Vs distribution to identify and resolve the extent of a relatively low-velocity anomaly caused by a sand channel. The Vs structure and anomaly boundaries were delineated at the meter scale and confirmed by the ground-penetrating radar surveys. The differences in shear-wave velocity determined by MASW, MALW and borehole measurements were discussed and interpreted to reflect the near-surface anisotropy associated with the hydrologic characteristics at the BHRS. Our results demonstrated that the combination of MALW and MASW can be a powerful tool for near-surface characterization.

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The authors greatly appreciate the comments and suggestions from the Editor in Chief Michael J. Rycroft and two anonymous reviewers that significantly improved the quality of the manuscript. The authors thank the staff and students in the Center for Geophysical Investigation of the Shallow Subsurface (CGISS), Boise State University, for their generous help in data acquisitions. The VSP data are from the borehole report by P. Michaels and P.E.J. McCabe. The first author thanks Prof. Laura Valentina Socco for helpful discussions on this research. This study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under Grant Nos. 41774115 and 41830103 and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation under Grant No. 2019M652061.

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Mi, B., Xia, J., Bradford, J.H. et al. Estimating Near-Surface Shear-Wave-Velocity Structures Via Multichannel Analysis of Rayleigh and Love Waves: An Experiment at the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site. Surv Geophys (2020).

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  • MASW
  • MALW
  • Near-surface Vs structure
  • Anomaly delineation
  • Anisotropy