SH-wave refraction/reflection and site characterization

Zhenming Wang, Ron L. Street, Edward W. Woolery, Ian P. Madin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Traditionally, nonintrusive techniques used to characterize soils have been based on P-wave refraction/reflection methods. However, near-surface unconsolidated soils are oftentimes water-saturated, and when groundwater is present at a site, the velocity of the P-waves is more related to the compressibility of the pore water than to the matrix of the unconsolidated soils. Conversely, SH-waves are directly relatable to the soil matrix. This makes SH-wave refraction/reflection methods effective in site characterizations where groundwater is present. SH-wave methods have been used extensively in site characterization and subsurface imaging for earthquake hazard assessments in the central United States and western Oregon. Comparison of SH-wave investigations with geotechnical investigations shows that SH-wave refraction/reflection techniques are viable and cost-effective for engineering site characterization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-140
Number of pages15
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue number108
StatePublished - 2000
EventGeoDenver 2000 'Use of Geophysical Methods in Construction' - Denver, CO, USA
Duration: Aug 5 2000Aug 8 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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