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Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves and Down-Hole Tests in the Archeological “Palatine Hill” Area (Rome, Italy): Evaluation and Influence of 2D Effects on the Shear Wave Velocity


A joint analysis of down-hole (DH) and multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) measurements offers a complete evaluation of shear wave velocity profiles, especially for sites where a strong lateral variability is expected, such as archeological sites. In this complex stratigraphic setting, the high “subsoil anisotropy” (i.e., sharp lithological changes due to the presence of anthropogenic backfill deposits and/or buried man-made structures) implies a different role for DH and MASW tests. This paper discusses some results of a broad experimental program conducted on the Palatine Hill, one of the most ancient areas of the city of Rome (Italy). The experiments were part of a project on seismic microzoning and consisted of 20 MASW and 11 DH tests. The main objective of this study was to examine the difficulties related to the interpretation of the DH and MASW tests and the reliability limits inherent in the application of the noninvasive method in complex stratigraphic settings. As is well known, DH tests provide good determinations of shear wave velocities (Vs) for different lithologies and man-made materials, whereas MASW tests provide average values for the subsoil volume investigated. The data obtained from each method with blind tests were compared and were correlated to site-specific subsurface conditions, including lateral variability. Differences between punctual (DH) and global (MASW) Vs measurements are discussed, quantifying the errors by synthetic comparison and by site response analyses. This study demonstrates that, for archeological sites, VS profiles obtained from the DH and MASW methods differ by more than 15 %. However, the local site effect showed comparable results in terms of natural frequencies, whereas the resolution of the inverted shear wave velocity was influenced by the fundamental mode of propagation.

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The research activities presented in this paper were carried out in the framework of the UrbiSIT project (CNR-IGAG project manager: G.P. Cavinato; Italian Civil Protection Department (DPC) referents: L. Cavarra, F. Leone, G. Naso, F. Bramerini). In particular we gratefully acknowledge the advices and active contribution of G. Naso. Thanks are also extended to the “InterUniversity Centre for the Prediction and Prevention of Major Hazards” (C.U.G.RI.) for their technical support and availability. The authors also wish to thank M. Iavarone, N. Pelosi, P. Scotto di Vettimo, A. Angelino, L. Toro, B. Bianchi and R. De Martino (CNR-IAMC) for their technical, administrative and secretarial support. Finally, thanks are due to the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions, and to the Editor in Chief for his editorial improvements to the paper.

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Correspondence to V. Di Fiore.

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Di Fiore, V., Cavuoto, G., Tarallo, D. et al. Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves and Down-Hole Tests in the Archeological “Palatine Hill” Area (Rome, Italy): Evaluation and Influence of 2D Effects on the Shear Wave Velocity. Surv Geophys 37, 625–642 (2016).

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