Geological investigation of the near-surface in the southeastern Nechako Basin is difficult. Shallow seismic reflection imaging is poor due in part to an extensive cover of Eocene and Neogene volcanic rocks. Outcrops of these volcanic rocks, and the primarily Cretaceous bedrock, are commonly obscured by Quaternary deposits and vegetation. Estimates of near-surface P-wave velocity are derived from the tomographic inversion of seismic first-arrivals, an effective tool when seismic imaging is poor. Tomographic model velocities are in agreement with sonic logs and laboratory samples, except for those from the Neogene Chilcotin Group. Cretaceous sedimentary rocks have velocities of ∼2800–4200 ms–1. The Eocene Endako and Ootsa Lake groups, which have velocities of ∼3000–4200 ms–1, are not distinguishable based on velocity. The velocity, the character (density, focus, and penetration depth) of rays, and ties with well and surface geology constrain the subsurface extent of the Endako Group adjacent to well b-82-C. The Chilcotin Group typically exhibits velocities (∼2400–3000 ms–1) lower than corresponding velocities from sonic logs (4500–5200 ms–1) and laboratory measurements (5000–5200 ms–1). These low model velocities may be due to the presence of high porosity, brecciated rocks near to the surface, in comparison with the other measurements that have focussed on lower porosity massive lavas. The lowest mean velocities, located to the southeast, are related to anomalously thick, high porosity, breccia-rich deposits of Chilcotin Group. This conclusion is consistent with the interpretation that the Chilcotin Group is thicker in paleo river valleys.

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