Date of Award
MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Robb Eric S. Moss
The presence of active fault traces in proximity to any new infrastructure project is a major concern for the design process. The relative displacements that can be experienced in surface fault rupture during a seismic event must be either entirely avoided or mitigated in some way. Blind faults present a significant challenge to engineers attempting to identify these hazards. Current standards of practice employed to locate these features are time consuming and costly. This work investigates the geophysical methods of refraction microtremor (ReMi) and seismic refraction with regard to their applicability in this task. By imaging a distinct lateral variation in the shear wave velocity (Vs) profile across a short horizontal distance, these methods may provide a means of constraining traditional investigation techniques to a more focused area. The ReMi method is still very new, but holds key advantages over other geophysical methods in its ease of application and ability to achieve good results in highly urban settings. It is one of the few geophysical techniques that does not suffer in the presence of high amplitude ambient vibrations. The seismic refraction method is here applied in an attempt to corroborate data obtained through the ReMi analysis procedure. Sensitivity, precision parametric studies are carried out in order to learn how to best apply the ReMi method. Both tests are then applied at a previously trenched fault trace to determine whether the data can be matched to the subsurface information. Finally, the methods are deployed at a location with an inferred fault trace where little to nothing is known about the subsurface. The precision study indicates a coefficient of variation for the ReMi method on the order of 7%. At the known fault trace both methods generally agree qualitatively with available subsurface data and each other. Using the ReMi method, a marked shift is observed in the Vs profile laterally across the fault trace. In the case of the inferred fault trace, the same type of lateral variation in the Vs profile is observed using the ReMi method. The seismic refraction at this site does not agree with the ReMi data, but seems reasonable given the visible geomorphology. Receiver arrays placed in close proximity to the inferred fault trace recorded erratic signals during seismic refraction testing, and displayed abnormal response modes after transforming the ReMi data to frequency-slowness space. These anomalies may possibly be attributed to the presence of abnormal subsurface structural geometry indicative of faulting.