Geophysical technologies are used to mitigate geological hazard caused by adverse geological conditions in front of a tunnel face. The prevailing method for forward probing for tunnels constructed by a tunnel boring machine (TBM) for advance prediction is based on seismic detection. Conventional tunnel seismic prediction technology uses P- and S-waves with sources fired on the tunnel wall or face and layout receivers on the tunnel wall to acquire the reflected waves. However, the results show that most of these methods have different deficiencies that are in either low detection accuracy, short detection depth, and/or multiplicity in imaging. This paper proposes a new high resolution tunnel advance prediction technology on the face based on 3D seismic wave detection. It arranges the 3D high-density source and recording geometry on the tunnel face to receive reflected P-waves for 3D imaging. By using the 3D numerical simulation, we first analyze the energy distribution and propagation characteristics of the wave field, which proves that our method is feasible. Compared with the conventional technologies, the seismic energy propagating towards the tunnel face is stronger and produces rich reflected information. The reflected wave has the advantages of bandwidth, strong energy and little interferences from surface wave, so that the seismic phases are easy to be identified. On this basis, we present the high resolution true 3D prediction technology to obtain more comprehensive and abundant azimuth information. Our approach is further validated by an application experiment in a real-world engineering project of water conveyance tunnel. The results show that the new technique has a greater detection length, higher detection accuracy and more reliable imaging results.

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