Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Civil Engineering

Committee Chair

Shahram Pezeshk

Committee Member

Martin Chapman

Committee Member

Chris Cramer

Committee Member

Roger Meier


Characterizing the near-surface shear-wave velocity structure using Rayleigh-wave phase velocity dispersion curves is widespread in the context of reservoir characterization, exploration seismology, earthquake engineering, and geotechnical engineering. This surface seismic approach provides a feasible and low-cost alternative to the borehole measurements. Phase velocity dispersion curves from Rayleigh surface waves are inverted to yield the vertical shear-wave velocity profile. A significant problem with the surface wave inversion is its intrinsic non-uniqueness, and although this problem is widely recognized, there have not been systematic efforts to develop approaches to reduce the pervasive uncertainty that affects the velocity profiles determined by the inversion. Non-uniqueness cannot be easily studied in a nonlinear inverse problem such as Rayleigh-wave inversion and the only way to understand its nature is by numerical investigation which can get computationally expensive and inevitably time consuming. Regarding the variety of the parameters affecting the surface wave inversion and possible non-uniqueness induced by them, a technique should be established which is not controlled by the non-uniqueness that is already affecting the surface wave inversion. An efficient and repeatable technique is proposed and tested to overcome the non-uniqueness problem; multiple inverted shear-wave velocity profiles are used in a wavenumber integration technique to generate synthetic time series resembling the geophone recordings. The similarity between synthetic and observed time series is used as an additional tool along with the similarity between the theoretical and experimental dispersion curves. The proposed method is proven to be effective through synthetic and real world examples. In these examples, the nature of the non-uniqueness is discussed and its existence is shown. Using the proposed technique, inverted velocity profiles are estimated and effectiveness of this technique is evaluated; in the synthetic example, final inverted velocity profile is compared with the initial target velocity model, and in the real world example, final inverted shear-wave velocity profile is compared with the velocity model from independent measurements in a nearby borehole. Real world example shows that it is possible to overcome the non-uniqueness and distinguish the representative velocity profile for the site that also matches well with the borehole measurements.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.