Application of seismic-refraction techniques to hydrologic studies

Open-File Report 84-746



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 surfaces, 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 applying seismic-refraction methods. These methods allow the 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 this technique in hydrologic investigations and describes the planning, equipment, field procedures, and intrepretation techniques needed for this type of study.

Examples of the use of seismic-refraction techniques in a wide variety of hydrologic studies are presented.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Application of seismic-refraction techniques to hydrologic studies
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 84-746
DOI 10.3133/ofr84746
Year Published 1986
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Office of Ground Water
Description x, 144 p.
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