Abstract

We deployed a network of 68 three‐component geophones on the slow‐moving Two Towers earthflow in northern California. We compute horizontal‐to‐vertical spectral ratios (HVSRs) from the ambient seismic field. The HVSRs have two prominent peaks, one near 1.23 Hz and another between 4 and 8 Hz at most stations. The 1.23 Hz resonance is a property of the background noise field and may be due to a velocity contrast at a few hundred meters depth. We interpret the higher frequency peaks as being related to slide deposits and invert the spectral ratios for shallow velocity structure using in situ thickness measurements as a priori constraints on the inversion. The thickness of the shallowest, low‐velocity layer is systematically larger than landslide thicknesses inferred from inclinometer data acquired since 2013. Given constraints from field observations and boreholes, the inversion may reflect the thickness of deposits of an older slide that is larger in spatial extent and depth than the currently active slide. Because the HVSR peaks measured at Two Towers are caused by shallow slide deposits and represent frequencies that will experience amplification during earthquakes, the depth of the actively sliding mass may be less relevant for assessing potential slide volume and associated hazard than the thicknesses determined by our inversions. More generally, our results underscore the utility of combining both geotechnical measurements and subsurface imaging for landslide characterization and hazard assessment.

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