To identify geologic units with distinctly different seismic responses for the purposes of seismic zonation, compressional and shear wave velocities have been measured in boreholes at 59 sites in the San Francisco Bay region in a wide range of near-surface (0-30m) geologic materials. Several physical parameters, which can be readily determined in the field, were found to correlate with the shear wave velocities and were used to define seismically distinct groups. For the unconsolidated to semiconsolidated sediments, texture, standard penetration resistance and depth were used to define eight seismically distinct groups. For the bedrock materials, fracture spacing and hardness were used to differentiate ten distinct categories.
The correlation obtained between shear wave velocity and the physical parameters were used to regroup the map units defined for the San Francisco Bay region into seismically distinct units. The map units for the younger unconsolidated sediments can be really differentiated seismically. In contrast, the older semiconsolidated sedimentary deposits and bedrock units, which have experienced significant variations in post-depositial changes, show wider and overlapping velocity ranges. The map units for the sedimentary deposits have been regrouped into eight seismically distinct geotechnical units. The bedrock map units have been broadly regrouped into five distinct categories.
Compressional wave velocities were not found to be well correlated with the physical parameters dependent on the soil or rock structure. For materials above the water table, the wide velocity variations found for each geotechnical group can be attributed to differences in degree of saturation. The strong correlations observed between shear wave velocity and other readily determine physical properties suggest that geologic maps which incorporate these parameters are most useful for seismic zonation.