Overview of multichannel analysis of surface waves and effective uses

Rapid shear stiffness (G) measurements can be made in situ using the multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) technique. This method enables the non-destructive evaluation of dynamic ground stiffness and provides a profile of dynamic stiffness values with depth without the need for a borehole. Soils of all types can be tested and, importantly, no ground penetration is involved, so the ground is not disturbed. In cases when the ground variation is complex, or when extremely accurate information is required, the dynamic stiffness measurements can be refined through numerical modelling techniques.

MASW testing is computer controlled and, with the use of mobile equipment, is a low-cost and rapid technique. It can provide a reliable and inexpensive means of testing dynamic ground stiffness that can validate other information from boreholes and in situ geotechnical testing. Typical depths are up to 10 m (clay) and 30 m (granular soil).

MASW applications

MASW advantages

  • Ease of use: field data acquisition is relatively simple, and data collection is not affected by ambient noise
  • Speed: a large area can be covered within a relatively short time using a multichannel array
  • Efficient: saves costs and time

Other geophysical surveys techniques

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