Flexible multimethod approach for seismic site characterization

Journal of Seismology
By: , and 



We describe the flexible multimethod seismic site characterization technique for obtaining shear-wave velocity (VS) profiles and derivative information, such as the time-averaged VS of the upper 30 m (VS30). Simply stated, the multimethod approach relies on the application of multiple independent noninvasive site characterization acquisition and analysis techniques utilized in a flexible field-based approach through a decision process based on primary factors such as the investigator’s available equipment, field logistics (e.g., available array deployment space, urban versus rural), geologic setting, and funding among other primary factors. In a multimethod approach, sites ideally should be characterized using both active and passive noninvasive (i.e., no drilling and only minimal disturbance to the ground surface) methods. Almost without exception, we recommend the use of at least one active-source technique for analyzing surface waves, which in the current state of practice would include one or more of the following: spectral analysis of surface waves (SASW; commonly Rayleigh waves) and multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW; Rayleigh and/or Love waves). In addition, passive-source microtremor array methods (MAMs) using linear (one-dimensional) and two-dimensional arrays may be appropriate or even required for characterizing a given site. Similarly, the microtremor horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (mHVSR) method can be valuable for identifying shallow rock sites. Finally, P- and SH-wave seismic refraction methods warrant consideration, especially at rock and shallow-rock sites.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Flexible multimethod approach for seismic site characterization
Series title Journal of Seismology
DOI 10.1007/s10950-022-10102-y
Volume 26
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center, Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 25 p.
First page 687
Last page 711
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