A digital 3C array seismic cone penetrometer has been developed for multidisciplinary geophysical and geotechnical applications. Seven digital triaxial microelectromechanical system accelerometers are installed at 0.25-m intervals to make a 1.5-m-long downhole seismic array. The accelerometers have a flat response up to 2 kHz. The seismic array is attached to a class 1 digital seismic cone, which measures cone tip resistance, sleeve friction, pore-pressure, and inclination. The downhole 3C array can be used together with impulsive seismic sources and/or high-frequency vibrators that are suitable for high-resolution shallow applications. Results from two field experiments showed that a good data quality, including a constant source function within an array, and a dense depth-sampling allowed robust estimation of seismic velocity profiles in the shallow subsoil. Using horizontal and vertical seismic sources, downhole 9C seismic array data can be easily acquired. The quality of the shear-wave data is much superior when the surface seismic source is a controlled, high-frequency vibrator in stead of a traditional sledge hammer. A remarkable correlation in depth, in a fine scale, between low-strain seismic shear wave velocity and high-strain cone tip resistance could be observed. The array measurements of the full-elastic wavefield and the broad spectral bandwidth are useful in investigating frequency-dependent seismic wave propagation in the porous near-surface soil layers, which is informative of the in situ fluid-flow properties. Stable estimates of dispersive seismic velocity and attenuation can be obtained.

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