Introduction to MASW Acquisition and Processing
Three types of Multichannel Analysis of Surface Wave (MASW) are described.
- Passive Remote
- Passive Roadside
The Active MASW method (Figure 1) was first introduced in Geophysics (Park et al., 1999). It is the conventional mode of survey using an active seismic source (e.g., a sledge hammer) and a linear receiver array, collecting data in a roll-along mode. The two passive methods utilize surface waves generated passively from ambient cultural (and natural) activities such as traffic (and thunder, tidal motion, atmospheric pressure change, etc.).
Figure 1--Active MASW method. More information is available on "Active MASW."
The Passive Remote MASW method (Park et al., 2004; 2005) employs a two-dimensional (2-D) receiver array such as a cross or circular layout to record passive surface waves (Figure 2). This results in the most accurate evaluation of shear-wave velocity (Vs) at the expense of more intensive field operation and the burden of securing an open-wide space for the array. This can be a good choice if a relatively regional one-dimensional (1-D) Vs profiling is needed.
Figure 2--Passive Remote MASW method. More information is available on "Passive Remote MASW."
The Passive Roadside MASW method (Park and Miller, 2006) adopts the conventional linear receiver array and tries mainly to utilize those surface waves generated from local traffic (Figure 3). It tries to overcome limitations with the passive remote method such as difficulty in securing a spacious area and inconvenience in field operations by sacrificing the accuracy (usually less than 10%) of the Vs evaluation. With the passive roadside method, the array can be set along the sidewalk or the shoulder of a road and the survey can continue in a roll-along mode for the purpose of 2-D Vs profiling. Using a land streamer for the array can improve survey speed by as much as a few orders of magnitude. In addition, an active impact (e.g., by using a sledge hammer) can be applied at one end of the array to trigger a long (e.g., 30 sec) record of data. This can result in the active-passive combined analysis of surface waves for the purpose of obtaining both shallow (e.g., 1-20 m) and deep (e.g., 20-100 m) Vs information simultaneously.
Figure 3--Passive Roadside MASW method. More information is available on "Passive Roadside MASW."
Park, C.B., and Miller, R.D., 2006, Roadside passive MASW: Proceedings of SAGEEP, April 2-6, 2006, Seattle, Washington. [PDF available online, 1.3 MB]
Park, C.B., Miller, R.D., Ryden, N., Xia, J., and Ivanov, J., 2005, Combined use of active and passive surface waves: Journal of Engineering and Environmental Geophysics (JEEG), 10, (3), 323-334. [PDF available online, 1.1 MB]
Park, C.B., Miller, R.D., Xia, J., and Ivanov, J., 2004, Imaging dispersion curves of passive surface waves: SEG Expanded Abstracts: Soc. Explor. Geophys., (NSG 1.6), Proceedings published on CD. [PDF available online, 736 kB]
Park, C.B., Miller, R.D., and Xia, J., 1999, Multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW); Geophysics, 64, 800-808. [PDF available online, 1.3 MB]
Three Steps of MASW ProcessThe entire procedure for MASW usually consists of three steps:
- acquiring multichannel records (or shot gathers),
- extracting the fundamental-mode dispersion curves (one curve from each record), and
- inverting these curves to obtain 1-D (depth) Vs profiles (one profile from one curve).
Procedure for 2-D Shear-Velocity (Vs) Profiling
By placing each 1-D Vs profile at a surface location corresponding to the middle of the receiver line, a 2-D (surface and depth) Vs map is constructed through an appropriate interpolation scheme.
The Power of the Multichannel Approach
When seismic waves are generated using an impact source such as a sledge hammer both surface and body waves are generated propagating in all directions. Some of these waves are reflected and scattered as they encounter shallow and surface objects (for example, building foundations, culverts, ditches, boulders, and so forth) and become noise. Furthermore, there are always ambient noise vibrations from traffic and human activities. The main advantage of the multichannel approach is in its capability to distinguish all of these noise waves from the signal wave (the fundamental mode of Rayleigh waves) through diverse seismic attribute analysis. Identification of signal and noise waves based on one of the attributes (the arrival-time pattern) is illustrated at using a multichannel field record.
Dispersion Analysis--Multichannel Approach
(2-D Wavefield Transformation)
Dispersion properties of all types of waves (both body and surface waves) are imaged through a wavefield-transformation method that directly converts the multichannel record into an image where a dispersion pattern is recognized in the transformed energy distribution, as illustrated at left. Then, the necessary dispersion property (like that of the fundamental mode) is extracted from a specific pattern. All other reflected/scattered waves and ambient noise are automatically removed during the transformation.