Investigation of near-surface structures using seismic refraction and multi-channel analysis of surface waves methods—a case study of the University of Lagos main campus

  • Olawale Johnson AlloEmail author
  • Elijah Adebowale Ayolabi
  • Sunday Oladele
Review Paper


The need to use locations which are hitherto swamps or recreation centers to construct more building facilities that range from medium to huge structures within the University main campus informed the decision to embark on this study. Structures within the subsurface layers were investigated by analyzing the distribution pattern of some geophysical properties such as compressional wave (P-wave) velocity, shear wave (S-wave) velocity, and Poisson ratio. The near-surface layers were identified from the first break picks of P-waves velocities. Moreover, the dispersive capability of the surface wave produced S-wave velocity information that identified different geological structures based on the orientations of the lithological layer’s rigidity. The P-wave velocities reveal three-layer structures of thicknesses between 3.0 m to 6.0 m and 2.0 m to 5.0 m for Layer 1 and Layer 2 respectively. These layers are in three categories of “Complex”, “Mild,” and “Simple” based on the distribution pattern of shear velocities. Poisson ratio analysis shows two categories of Topsoil/Lateritic layer of less than 2.0 m (thin) and between 2.0 m and 4.5 m (thick). Areas identified as “Complex” structure with thick Topsoil will require comprehensive foundation design than other areas especially when erecting huge building. Whereas, locations around the New Halls (NHs) may require simple foundation plan for building development compared to other areas since it is characterized by thin Topsoil and simple layer structure. The study will assist construction engineers with prior information of the structures of subsurface layers which thereby reduce time and cost of building development within the University campus.


P-velocity S-velocity Poisson ratio Surface waves Subsurface structures 



The authors appreciate the Department of Geosciences, University of Lagos, for the release of the 24 channel ABEM seismograph used to acquire the seismic data for this study.


  1. Abidin MH, Saad R, Ahmad F, Wijeyesekerae DC, Baharuddin MF (2012) Seismic refraction investigation on near surface landslides at the Kundasang area in Sabah, Malaysia. Procedia Eng 50:516–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adegbola RB, Ayolabi EA, Allo W (2013) Subsurface characterization using seismic refraction and surface wave methods: a case of Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State. Arab J Geosci 6(12):4925–4930CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anomohanran O (2013) Seismic refraction method: a technique for determining the thickness of stratified substratum. Am J Appl Sci 10(8):857–862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anstey N (1986) Whatever happened to ground roll? Lead Edge 5(3):40–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ayolabi E (2004) Seismic refraction survey of University of Lagos, Nigeria and its implications. J Appl Sci 7(3):4319–4327Google Scholar
  6. Ayolabi EA, Adegbola RB (2014) Application of MASW in road failure investigation. Arab J Geosci 7(10):4335–4341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ayolabi EA, Adeoti L, Oshinlaja NA, Adeosun IO, Idowu IO (2009) Seismic refraction and resistivity studies of part of Igbogbo township, south-west Nigeria. Jour of Scient Res Dev 11:42–61Google Scholar
  8. Braja MD (2013) Fundamentals of geotechnical engineering, 4th edn. Cengage LearningGoogle Scholar
  9. Dobrin M, Savit C (1988) Introduction to geophysical prospecting, 4th edn. McGraw-Hill IncGoogle Scholar
  10. Dulaijan K, Stewart R (2007) Surface wave analysis for estimating near surface properties. CREWES research reportGoogle Scholar
  11. Elsayed IS, Alhussein AB, Gad E, Mahfooz AH (2014) Shallow seismic refraction, two-dimensional electrical resistivity imaging and ground penetrating radar for imaging the ancient monuments at the Western Shore of Old Luxor City, Egypt. Archaeological Discovery 2:31–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Essien UE, Akankpo AO, Igboekwe MU (2014) Poisson ratio of subsurface soils and shallow sediments determined from seismic compressional and shear wave velocities. Int J Geosci 5:1540–1546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fkirin MA, Badawy S, El deery MF (2016) Seismic refraction method to study subsoil structure. J Geol Geophys 5:259. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Garotta R (1999) Shear waves from acquisition to interpretation. 2000 distinguished instructor short course, distinguished instructor series. Society of Exploration GeophysicistsGoogle Scholar
  15. Gurevich B, Pevzner R (2015) How frequency dependency of Q affects spectral ratio estimantes. Geophysics 80:A39–A44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haskell N (1953) The dispersion of surface waves on multilayered media. SSA Bulletin 43:17–34Google Scholar
  17. Hatherly PJ, Neville MJ (1986) Experience with the generalized reciprocal method of seismic refraction interpretation for shallow seismic engineering site investigation. Geophysics 51:276–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Igboekwe MU, Ohaegbuchu HE (2011) Investigation into the weathering layer using up-hole method of seismic refraction. J Geol Min Res 3:73–86Google Scholar
  19. Jones H, Hockey R (1964) The geology of part of South-Westhern Nigeria. Geological Survey of Nigeria BulletinGoogle Scholar
  20. Kearey P, Brooks M, Hill I (2002) An introduction to geophysical exploration, 3rd edn. Blackwell publishingGoogle Scholar
  21. Kilner M, West LJ, Murray T (2005) Characterization of glacial sediments using geophysical methods for groundwater source protection. J Appl Geophys 57(4):293–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kong XL, Chen H, Hu ZQ, Kang JX, Xu TJ, Li LM (2018) Surface wave attenuation based polarization attributes in time-frequency domain for multicomponent seismic data. Appl Geophys 15(1):99–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lewis O (1997) Construction of boreholes in University of Lagos, Akoka. B.Sc Project Dissertation, University of Lagos, LagosGoogle Scholar
  24. Madun A, Supa’at MEA, Tajudin SAA, Zainalabidin MH, Sani S, Yusof MF (2016) Soil investigation using multi-channel analysis of Surface wave (MASW) and borehole. ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences 11(6):3759–3763Google Scholar
  25. Maunde A, Bassey NE (2017) Seismic refraction investigation of fracture zones and bedrock configuration for geohydrologic and geotechnical studies in part of Nigeria’s Capital City, Abuja. Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering 7(2):91–102Google Scholar
  26. Mohd RU, Nora M, Akhmal S, Abdul RS, Umar H (2016) Determination of layers of metal-sediment rock using seismic refraction survey at the vicinity of Alor Gajah town, Melaka, Peninsular Malaysia. International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences 3(5):65–72Google Scholar
  27. Park C, Miller R, Xia J (1997) Summary report on surface wave project at the Kansas Geological Survey. Kansas Geological Survey Open-file Report: pp 97-80Google Scholar
  28. Park CB, Miller RD, Xia J (1999) Multi-channel analysis of surface waves. Geophysics 64(3):800–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reynolds JM (2011) An introduction to applied and environmental geophysics, 2nd edn. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  30. Ronczka M, Hellman K, Günther T, Wisén R, Dahlin T (2017) Electric resistivity and seismic refraction tomography: a challenging joint underwater survey at Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory. Solid Earth 8:671–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sayed SR, Moustafa EH, Ibrahim EE, Mohamed M, Naser AA (2012) Seismic refraction and resistivity imaging for assessment of groundwater seepage under a Dam site, Southwest of Saudi Arabia. International Journal of the Physical Sciences 7(48):6230–6239Google Scholar
  32. Schwenk TJ, Miller R, Ivanov J, Sloan S (2012) Dispersion interpretation from synthetic seismograms and multi channel analysis of surface waves (MASW). Society of exploration geophysicist annual meeting, Las Vegas, USA. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sharma HD, Dukes MT, Olsen DM (1990) Field measurement of dynamic moduli and Poisson ratios of refuse and underlying soils at a landfill site. In: Landva A, Knowles GD (eds) Geotechnics of waste landfills, theory and practice. American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, pp 57–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sheriff RE (2002) Encyclopedic dictionary of applied geophysics (fourth edition). Society of exploration geophysicists, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Telford WM, Geldart LP, Sheriff RE (1990) Applied geophysics. Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  36. Varughese A, Kumar N (2011) Seismic refraction survey a reliable tool for subsurface characterization for hydropower projects. Proceedings of Indian Geotechnical Conference, Kochi, India, pp 137–139Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olawale Johnson Allo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elijah Adebowale Ayolabi
    • 1
  • Sunday Oladele
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geosciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of LagosLagosNigeria

Personalised recommendations