Choosing a seismic source for a shallow reflection survey can be the most pivotal decision for the engineering geophysicist. This paper presents data that will assist in selecting shallow seismic sources best for specific projects, particularly in areas where the water table is near the surface. Data were collected (and displayed as seismograms and amplitude spectra) for 15 different shallow seismic sources in October, 1985 at a single site in New Jersey; they show the different characteristics of each source. Considering the almost three orders of magnitude difference in total source energy between the largest and smallest source, we chose a display format that presented the data as objectively as possible, while still allowing direct source-to-source comparisons. Two strong reflections at about 100 and 130 ms probably mark the top and bottom of a clay unit 80 m below the surface at this site. Our previous work and that of our colleagues suggests that, given a specific set of site characteristics, any source could dominate the comparison categories addressed here.--Modified journal abstract.

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