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Integrated geophysical profiles and H/V microtremor measurements for subsoil characterizationNormal access

Authors: Beatriz Benjumea, Albert Macau, Anna Gabàs, Fabian Bellmunt, Sara Figueras and Jordi Cirés
Issue: Vol 9, No 5, October 2011 pp. 413 - 425
DOI: 10.3997/1873-0604.2011021
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 4.54Mb )

Mapping bedrock structure beneath overburden is crucial for understanding geological and hydrogeological processes. Acquiring this information is generally done using well drilling or geophysical surveys; but these studies are expensive and require large periods of acquisition and processing time. In addition, geophysical data acquisition can be logistically challenging in urban zones with limited available areas for instrumentation deployment. Under favourable conditions (1D structure and high acoustic impedance contrast) the H/V microtremor technique can provide estimates of bedrock depth. This technique is used to obtain the soil resonance frequency in seismic microzonation studies. It is based on the computation of the horizontal to vertical spectral ratio of microtremor recordings acquired at a single station. The soil resonance frequency is related to soil shear-wave velocity and thickness. Here we investigate the capability of combining microtremor and traditional exploration geophysical techniques (electrical resistivity and seismic tomography) to obtain an empirical relationship relating soil resonance frequency and overburden thickness. Subsequently we propose to extend microtremor measurements to adjacent areas that have not been covered by geophysical surveys. This methodology has been applied at a test site located in a granitic environment where alluvial/colluvial sediments cover the granite weathering profile. This area is characterized by urban development and sectors having rugged topography. A priori, this area has suitable conditions to apply the H/V microtremor technique. Overburden thickness has been estimated to range between 20–50 m. The proposed methodology has been validated at the test site, encouraging us to apply the H/V method as an exploration tool in similar geological environments.

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