3D near-surface soil response from H/V ambient-noise ratios

Woolery W. Wollery, Ron Street

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The applicability of the horizontal-to-vertical (H/V) ambient-noise spectral ratio for characterizing earthquake site effects caused by nearsurface topography and velocity structures was evaluated at sites underlain by thick (i.e. >100 m) sediment deposits near the southern-end of the New Madrid seismic zone in the central United States. Three-component ambient-noise and velocity models derived from seismic (shearwave) refraction/reflection surveys showed that a relatively horizontal, sharp shear-wave velocity interface in the soil column resulted in an H/V spectral ratio with a single well-defined peak. Observations at sites with more than one sharp shear-wave velocity contrast and horizontally arranged soil layers resulted in at least two well-defined H/V spectral ratio peaks. Furthermore, at sites where there were sharp shear-wave velocity contrasts in nonhorizontal, near-surface soil layers, the H/V spectra exhibited a broad-bandwidth, relatively low amplitude signal instead of a single well-defined peak.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-876
Number of pages12
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Issue number9-12
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the US Geological Survey (USGS), Department of the Interior, under USGS award number 01HQGR0118, and the Kentucky Geological Survey. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the US Government. We wish to thank Meg Smath and Collie Rulo of the Kentucky Geological Survey for assisting us with editorial and drafting support. Edward W. Woolery received a BS (1984) in geology from Eastern Kentucky University and a BSCE (1996) from the University of Kentucky in Civil Engineering. He obtained his MS (1993) and PhD (1998) in Geological Sciences (Geophysics) from the University of Kentucky. He has worked as a geotechnical engineer and engineering geologist for the Louisville District US Army Corps of Engineers. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, and a research geophysicist at the Kentucky Geological Survey. His research interests include near-surface geophysics, neotectonics, and engineering seismology. Ron L. Street received his BS (1964) and MS (1971) degrees in engineering physics and geophysics, respectively, from Michigan Technological University. He acquired his PhD (1975) in seismology from St Louis University in 1975. He taught geophysics in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Kentucky from 1978 through 2001, and is currently a part-time researcher at the Kentucky Geological Survey. His research interests include seismic hazard and mitigation in the central United States, with emphasis on strong-motion seismology and site effects.


  • Ambient-noise
  • Site effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Soil Science


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