S-wave refraction survey of alluvial aggregate

Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5012

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An S-wave refraction survey was conducted in the Yampa River valley near Steamboat Springs, Colo., to determine how well this method could map alluvium, a major source of construction aggregate. At the field site, about 1 m of soil overlaid 8 m of alluvium that, in turn, overlaid sedimentary bedrock. The traveltimes of the direct and refracted S-waves were used to construct velocity cross sections whose various regions were directly related to the soil, alluvium, and bed-rock. The cross sections were constrained to match geologic logs that were developed from drill-hole data. This constraint minimized the ambiguity in estimates of the thickness and the velocity of the alluvium, an ambiguity that is inherent to the S-wave refraction method. In the cross sections, the estimated S-wave velocity of the alluvium changed in the horizontal direction, and these changes were attributed to changes in composition of the alluvium. The estimated S-wave velocity of the alluvium was practically constant in the vertical direc-tion, indicating that the fine layering observed in the geologic logs could not be detected. The S-wave refraction survey, in conjunction with independent information such as geologic logs, was found to be suitable for mapping the thickness of the alluvium.

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USGS Numbered Series
S-wave refraction survey of alluvial aggregate
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
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Version 1.0
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14 p. and 3 plates