Abstract

Information about seismic velocity distribution in heterogeneous near-surface sedimentary deposits is essential for a variety of environmental and engineering geophysical applications. We have evaluated the suitability of the minimally invasive direct-push technology for near-surface seismic traveltime tomography. Geophones placed at the surface and a seismic source installed temporarily in the subsurface by direct-push technology quickly acquire reversed multioffset vertical seismic profiles (VSPs). The first-arrival traveltimes of these data were used to reconstruct the 2D seismic velocity distribution tomographically. After testing this approach on synthetic data, we applied it to field data collected over alluvial deposits in a former river floodplain. The resulting velocity model contains information about high- and low-velocity anomalies and offers a significantly deeper penetration depth than conventional refraction tomography using surface-planted sources and receivers at the investigated site. A combination of refraction seismic and direct-push data increases resolution capabilities in the unsaturated zone and enables reliable reconstruction of velocity variations in near-surface unconsolidated sediments. The final velocity model structurally matches the results of cone-penetration tests and natural gamma-radiation data acquired along the profile. The suitability of multiple rapidly acquired reverse VSP surveys for 2D tomographic velocity imaging of near-surface unconsolidated sediments was explored.

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