During the past 30 years, seismic-refraction methods have been used extensively in petroleum, mineral, and engineering investigations and to some extent for hydrologic applications. Recent advances in equipment, sound sources, and computer interpretation techniques make seismic refraction a highly effective and economical means of obtaining subsurface data in hydrologic studies. Aquifers that can be defined by one or more high-seismic-velocity surface, such as (1) alluvial or glacial deposits in consolidated rock valleys, (2) limestone or sandstone underlain by metamorphic or igneous rock, or (3) saturated unconsolidated deposits overlain by unsaturated unconsolidated deposits, are ideally suited for seismic-refraction methods. These methods allow economical collection of subsurface data, provide the basis for more efficient collection of data by test drilling or aquifer tests, and result in improved hydrologic studies. This manual briefly reviews the basics of seismic-refraction theory and principles. It emphasizes the use of these techniques in hydrologic investigations and describes the planning, equipment, field procedures, and interpretation techniques needed for this type of study. Further-more, examples of the use of seismic-refraction techniques in a wide variety of hydrologic studies are presented.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Application of seismic-refraction techniques to hydrologic studies