Surface Wave Methods for Near-Surface Site Characterization

By Sebastiano Foti, Carlo G. Lai, Glenn J. Rix, Claudio Strobbia

© 2014 – CRC Press

487 pages | 265 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415678766
pub: 2014-08-20
US Dollars$145.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Develop a Greater Understanding of How and Why Surface Wave Testing Works

Using examples and case studies directly drawn from the authors’ experience, Surface Wave Methods for Near-Surface Site Characterization addresses both the experimental and theoretical aspects of surface wave propagation in both forward and inverse modeling. This book accents the key facets associated with surface wave testing for near-surface site characterization. It clearly outlines the basic principles, the theoretical framework and the practical implementation of surface wave analysis. In addition, it also describes in detail the equipment and measuring devices, acquisition techniques, signal processing, forward and inverse modeling theories, and testing protocols that form the basis of modern surface wave techniques.

Review Examples of Typical Applications for This Geophysical Technique

Divided into eight chapters, the book explains surface wave testing principles from data measurement to interpretation. It effectively integrates several examples and case studies illustrating how different ground conditions and geological settings may influence the interpretation of data measurements. The authors accurately describe each phase of testing in addition to the guidelines for correctly performing and interpreting results. They present variants of the test within a consistent framework to facilitate comparisons, and include an in-depth discussion of the uncertainties arising at each stage of surface wave testing.

  • Provides a comprehensive and in-depth treatment of all the steps involved in surface wave testing
  • Discusses surface wave methods and their applications in various geotechnical conditions and geological settings
  • Explains how surface wave measurements can be used to estimate both stiffness and dissipative properties of the ground
  • Addresses the issue of uncertainty, which is often an overlooked problem in surface wave testing
  • Includes examples with comparative analysis using different processing techniques and inversion algorithms
  • Outlines advanced applications of surface wave testing such as joint inversion, underwater investigation, and Love wave analysis

Written for geotechnical engineers, engineering seismologists, geophysicists, and researchers, Surface Wave Methods for Near-Surface Site Characterization offers practical guidance, and presents a thorough understanding of the basic concepts.


"At last a definitive book on the acquisition of ground properties by surface waves! In the past, geotechnical engineers have lacked a readily accessible guide and body of knowledge in one state-of-the-art volume to give them the confidence to use this hugely important method of site characterization. Now engineers can have this guide on how to quickly and non-invasively test large volumes of soil to give overall dynamic (small strain) soil properties used in the prediction of static surface settlements and lateral ground movements. The increasingly wide-spread use of the method must surely follow the publication of this book that will become a standard on the bookshelves of academics and practitioners alike."

—Bruce Menzies, founder, Global Digital Systems Ltd (GDS)

"This book gives an excellent overview of surface wave methods as well as detailed and rigorous insights on various aspects of such methods. It is thus an invaluable source of information for practitioners, students and researchers."

—Jean-Francois SEMBLAT, IFSTTAR, Dept GERS, Earthquakes & Vibrations Lab

"Simple, clear and objective… In this book the techniques for useful geotechnical engineering applications are explained with rigor and detail, namely for ground profiling and characterization, soil improvement, characterization of pavements and detection of anomalies. In addition to outlining these problems, a chapter with case histories allows the reader to understand how the topics covered in the book can be applied to practical design. This book will be an excellent base for teaching in undergraduate and post-graduate level, and will be very useful for geophysical and geotechnical engineering practitioners."

—António Viana da Fonseca, University of Porto , Praça de Gomes Teixeira, Portugal

Table of Contents

Overview of surface wave methods

Seismic waves

Test methodology

Historical perspective

Challenges of surface wave methods

Typical applications

Advantages and limitations

Linear wave propagation in verticallyinhomogeneous continua

Basic notions of wave propagation

Rayleigh waves in homogeneous elastic half-spaces

Existence of Love waves

Surface waves in vertically inhomogeneouselastic continua

Surface waves in vertically inhomogeneous, inelastic continua

Measurement of surface waves

Seismic data acquisition

The wave field as a signal in time and space

Acquisition of digital seismic signals

Acquisition of surface waves


Dispersion analysis

Phase and group velocity

Steady-state method

Spectral analysis of surface waves

Multi-offset phase analysis

Spatial autocorrelation

Transform-based methods

Group velocity analysis

Errors and uncertainties in dispersion analyses

Attenuation analysis

Attenuation of surface waves

Univariate regression of amplitude versus offset data

Transfer function technique and complex wavenumbers

Multichannel multimode complex wavenumber estimation

Other simplified approaches

Uncertainty in the attenuation measurement


Conceptual issues

Forward modeling

Surface wave inversion by empirical methods

Surface wave inversion by analytical methods


Case histories

Comparison among processing techniques with active-source methods

Comparison among inversion strategies

Examples for determining Vs and Ds profiles

Dealing with higher modes

Surface wave inversion of seismic reflection data

Advanced surface wave methods

Love waves

Offshore and nearshore surface wave testing

Joint inversion with other geophysical data

Passive seismic interferometry

Multicomponent surface wave analysis, polarization studies, and horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio



About the Authors

Dr. Sebastiano Foti is an associate professor in geotechnical engineering at the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. He has been a research scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a research associate at the University of Western Australia, Perth. His primary interests are in geophysical methods for geotechnical characterization, geotechnical earthquake engineering, and soil–structure interaction.

Dr. Carlo G. Lai is an associate professor in geotechnical engineering at the University of Pavia, Italy. He is also the head of the Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Section at EUCENTRE and affiliate faculty at the ROSE School both in Pavia. His primary interests are in modeling of seismic wave propagation in geomaterials, earthquake geotechnics, and engineering seismology.

Dr. Glenn J. Rix is a principal with Geosyntec Consultants Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia (USA). Prior to joining Geosyntec in 2013, Dr. Rix was a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His primary interests are in soil dynamics, geotechnical earthquake engineering, and seismic hazard and risk analysis.

Dr. Claudio Strobbia is a land processing specialist and seismic processing supervisor with Total in Pau, France. Before joining Total, he was a senior research geophysicist with Schlumberger, stationed in both Cairo, Egypt, and London. He has worked as a researcher for the EUCENTRE in Pavia, and has taught exploration seismology at the University of Milan Bicocca. His primary interests are in wave physics, inverse problems, near-surface geophysics, and seismic processing. Within exploration seismology his main contributions are in noise attenuationand near-surface characterization.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Civil / Dams & Reservoirs