The multichannel analysis of surface wave (MASW) method has been effectively and widely used to determine near-surface shear-wave velocity. Horizontal resolution of the MASW method represents the minimum horizontal length of recognizable geologic anomalous bodies on a pseudo-2D S-wave velocity VS section. Accurately assessing the achievable lateral resolution is one of the main issues in lateral variation reconstruction using the MASW method. It is difficult to quantitatively estimate the horizontal resolution of the MASW method because of the many influencing factors, such as parameters of the observation system, the depth of an anomalous body, and the velocity contrast between the anomalous body and the surrounding rocks. We first analyzed the horizontal resolution of the MASW method based on numerical simulation experiments. According to different influencing factors of the horizontal resolution, we established different laterally heterogeneous models and observation systems and then simulated several synthetic multichannel records with a finite-difference method along a linear survey line using the roll-along acquisition mode. After the extraction of dispersion curves of Rayleigh waves and inversion for S-wave velocity profiles for each synthetic shot gather, a pseudo-2D S-wave velocity section can be generated by aligning the 1D S-wave velocity models. Ultimately, we evaluated the horizontal resolution capability of the MASW method on pseudo-2D VS maps. Our numerical investigation results and field data analysis indicate that VS values on the maps are not the same as the true VS values for structures whose lateral dimension is shorter than a receiver spread length and that anomalous bodies, which are larger and have high velocity contrast, are easier to distinguish on VS maps with a shorter receiver spread length. The horizontal resolution decreases with the increasing depth and is approximately one-half of the shortest Rayleigh wavelength that can penetrate to the depth.

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