A test of a mechanical multi-impact shear-wave seismic source

Open-File Report 2001-440

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We modified two gasoline-engine-powered earth tampers, commonly used as compressional-(P) wave seismic energy sources for shallow reflection studies, for use as shear(S)-wave energy sources. This new configuration, termed ?Hacker? (horizontal Wacker?), is evaluated as an alternative to the manual sledgehammer typically used in conjunction with a large timber held down by the front wheels of a vehicle. The Hacker maximizes the use of existing equipment by a quick changeover of bolt-on accessories as opposed to the handling of a separate source, and is intended to improve the depth of penetration of S-wave data by stacking hundreds of impacts over a two to three minute period. Records were made with a variety of configurations involving up to two Hackers simultaneously then compared to a reference record made with a sledgehammer. Preliminary results indicate moderate success by the higher amplitude S-waves recorded with the Hacker as compared to the hammer method. False triggers generated by the backswing of the Hacker add unwanted noise and we are currently working to modify the device to eliminate this effect. Correlation noise caused by insufficient randomness of the Hacker impact sequence is also a significant noise problem that we hope to reduce by improving the coupling of the Hacker to the timber so that the operator has more control over the impact sequence.

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USGS Numbered Series
A test of a mechanical multi-impact shear-wave seismic source
Series title:
Open-File Report
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Version 1.0
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16 p.