Multi-channel Analysis of Surface Waves



The Multi-channel Analysis of Surface Waves method (MASW) is a non-destructive seismic method which uses the elastic properties of subsurface materials to determine subsurface structure. By analysis of the dispersive properties of varying frequencies from a single seismic source, shear-wave velocity (Vs) and associated geotechnical parameters can be determined.

MASW uses an active seismic source such as a hammer or weight drop impact to produce seismic energy consisting predominantly of Pressure (P-) waves and Shear (S-) waves. MASW uses the S-wave dispersion component to provide information on the shear velocity to a depth determined by frequency range of the energy source and array configuration.

Seismic surface waves have dispersion properties that traditionally utilized body waves lack. Differing wavelengths/frequencies have different depth of penetration, and therefore propagates with different phase velocity, with an increase in wavelength being proportional to increased depth of penetration. As the surface wave is the dominant wave generated from any seismic source, MASW data quality (signal to noise) tends to be higher than other seismic methods such as seismic reflection or refraction

Data Analysis & Presentation

Analysis of the collected MASW seismic records is concentrated on the S-wave dispersion component. Dispersion curves are extracted for each collected record from the overtone image showing the percentage intensity of phase velocity versus frequency. These curves are then inverted to produce 1D S-wave soundings typically to a depth of up to 20 m. The calculated 1D soundings can then be compiled and gridded to produce 2D sections showing the variation in S-wave velocity both laterally along the profile and with depth.