A Comparison of Four Geophysical Methods for Determining the Shear Wave Velocity of Soils


The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) routinely acquires seismic cone penetrometer (SCPT) shear wave velocity control as part of the routine investigation of soils within the Mississippi Embayment. In an effort to ensure their geotechnical investigations are as effective and efficient as possible, the SCPT tool and several available alternatives (crosshole [CH]; multichannel analysis of surface waves [MASW]; and refraction microtremor [ReMi]) were evaluated and compared on the basis of field data acquired at two test sites in southeast Missouri. These four methods were ranked in terms of accuracy, functionality, cost, other considerations, and overall utility. It is concluded that MASW data are generally more reliable than SCPT data, comparable to quality ReMi data, and only slightly less accurate than CH data. However, the other advantages of MASW generally make it a superior choice over the CH, SCPT, and ReMi methods for general soil classification purposes to depths of 30 m. MASW data are less expensive than CH data and SCPT data and can normally be acquired in areas inaccessible to drill and SCPT rigs. In contrast to the MASW tool, quality ReMi data can be acquired only in areas where there are interpretable levels of "passive" acoustic energy and only when the geophone array is aligned with the source(s) of such energy.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Crosshole; Multichannel Analysis Of Surface Waves; Refraction Microtremor; Seismic Cone Penetrometer Test; Geophysics; Geotechnical Engineering; Shear Waves; Soils; Surface Waves; Velocity Control; Accuracy Assessment; Cone Penetration Test; Microtremor; S-Wave; Seismic Method; Seismic Refraction; Soil Analysis; Soil Classification; Wave Velocity; Shear waves -- Measurement; Soil dynamics -- Testing -- Methodology; Surface waves -- Measurement

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Article - Journal

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© 2007 Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2007