The Use of Surface Waves for Near Surface Velocity Model Building

Course Description

The use of surface wave analysis for near-surface characterization has dramatically increased in the last decade thanks to the possibility offered by this technique for shear wave velocity estimation. New tools and approaches have been developed for surface wave data acquisition and analysis to make the method robust and suitable to complex systems. The course will supply an overview of the method starting from surface wave propagation and dealing with acquisition, processing and inversion of surface wave data. Advantages and weaknesses of different approaches as well as requirements for data acquisition and analysis will be discussed. Recent developments will be presented with example of results and applications to different near-surface problems.

Course Objectives

The course will provide the participants with a wide overview of the main steps of the surface wave method: acquisition, processing and inversion. Different approaches with their potentialities and limitations will be discussed through many practical examples to enable the participants to acquire knowledge about the requirements and design of data acquisition, processing methods and inversion algorithms for different applications from small-scale engineering problems towards large-scale exploration.

Course Outline

  • Surface wave propagation in homogeneous and layered media;
  • Geometrical dispersion, modal curves and their properties;
  • The use of surface wave for near surface characterisation: the method outline;
  • Data acquisition: on purpose acquired active data, other active data, passive data;
  • Processing: from raw data to dispersion curves;
  • Inversion: stochastic methods, linearized methods (1D, pseudo- 2d/3D), higher modes
  • The final results: resolution and uncertainties
  • The requirements for acquisition, processing and inversion.

Participants’ Profile

Near-surface geophysicists and exploration geophysicists interested in near-surface velocity models.


Participants should have basic knowledge of sampling principles, spectral analysis and inversion of seismic data.

About the Instructor

Laura Valentina Socco (1966), is presently Assistant Professor in Applied Geophysics at the Politecnico di Torino (Technical University of Turin), where she took her PhD. Her research work is focused on near surface problems with particular attention to surface wave methods. She is author of about 60 scientific publications in the field of Applied Geophysics in international and national journals and in the proceedings of national and international scientific conferences. She is member of EAGE Research Committee and Educational Committee and is Associate Editor of “Geophysics” and “Near Surface Geophysics”. She is vice-director of the Doctorate School of the Politecnico di Torino.

She teaches Applied Geophysics for Petroleum Engineering at Politecnico di Torino and Geophysical Prospecting at University of Turin. She has been member of the High Quality Laboratory DIPLAB (Disaster Planning Laboratory), of Politecnico di Torino since 2002. She is principal investigator for many research projects financed by national and international institutions and by private and public companies. Convenor of the workshop on “Surface Wave Methods for near surface characterisation”, EAGE (Stavanger 2003), she has been designated Guest Editor of a special issue of “Near Surface Geophysics” which was published in 2004.