Research Activities: 2003

Comprehensive Shear-Wave Velocity Study in the Poplar Bluff Area, Southeast Missouri




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Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency

Missouri Department of Transportation

Principal Investigator

Neil Anderson
University of Missouri-Rolla
Department of Geology and Geophysics
125 McNutt Hall
Rolla, Missouri, 65401
p(573) 341-4852
f(573) 341-6935

Student Involvement

Graduate students acquire, process and interpret data

Project Objective

The University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Geological Survey (MoDNR) in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) propose an integrated study of the predictability of ground motion within surficial soils in response to earthquake shaking. The proposed research will examine several conventional and newly-developed methods for characterizing the shear-wave velocity of surficial soils with a view to estimating frequency-dependent soil motion amplification and/or deamplification. These alternate methods will be compared and contrasted in terms of functionality, accuracy and efficiency.

Project Abstract

The study proposed herein, is focused on the determination of shear-wave velocities in the shallow subsurface (< 30 m). More specifically, the investigators propose to acquire shear-wave velocity control at 30 test sites in the Poplar Bluff study area (Figure 1), using multiple conventional and newly-developed field and laboratory methodologies. These alternate methods will be compared and contrasted in terms of functionality, accuracy and efficiency. Different methods of measuring shear wave velocity (and stratigraphy and engineering properties) will be employed at the same sites and the results will be compared.


Anticipated Benefits

An integrated analysis of all acquired/available geotechnical data will be conducted, and a comprehensive report will be submitted. The report will focus on the sensitivity, reliability and utility of the SASW, CH and SCPT tools. Borehole lithologic control and laboratory tests results of soil samples used to evaluate tools and constrain interpretations. Recommendations will be made with respect to the acquisition, processing and interpretation methodologies, as applicable.

The comprehensive report will also include a suite of maps depicting spatial variations in the shear-wave velocity, thickness and stratigraphy of the soils, and a discussion of the same. A revised 3-D surficial materials map and an earthquake soil amplification map will be incorporated. These "products" results of these intensive studies will be compared and contrasted to more traditional geologic mapping products.


Modal Orientation

Non-destructive and non-invasive imaging


Project Start Date:August 1, 2003
Project End Date:December 30, 2004

Relationship to other Research/Projects

UMR faculty members are engaged in a number of externally-funded projects that involve the non-destructive imaging of engineered structures and non-invasive site characterization.

Technology Transfer Activities

Expertise with respect to acquisition, processing, interpretation and application of geophysical technologies will be shared via publications and presentations.

Transportation Research Board Keywords

Non-destructive imaging, non-invasive imaging, technology transfer, education