Detection of Subsurface Voids in Soil Media Using Seismic Wave Methods


Wave propagation, void detection, continuous wavelet transformation, time-frequency plot, FDTD simulation.

How to Cite

A. Srivastava, J. A. Laman, A. Schokker. Detection of Subsurface Voids in Soil Media Using Seismic Wave Methods. Glob. J. Earth Sci. Eng. [Internet]. 2016Jul.31 [cited 2022Jan.16];3(1):1-16. Available from:


 This research investigated the effect of anomalies such as voids on surface wave propagation. This was achieved by studying the signal simultaneously in both the time and frequency domains with the assistance of time-frequency plots generated by continuous wavelet transformation (CWT). The study also investigated the effects of different types of wavelets on CWT and developed a protocol for processing seismic wave data for void detection. For this purpose a numerical and experimental study was conducted and the data was studied in both the time and frequency domains in conjunction with time-frequency plots. The response of the soil media is presented in the time-frequency plots. The presence of void like anomalies disrupts the time-frequency plot features and introduces new features. These features have been used for cavity detection.


Dobecki TL and Upchurch SB. Geophysical Applications to Detect Sinkholes and Ground Subsidence. The Leading Edge 2006; 25; 3; 336-341.

Cooper SS and Ballard RF. Geophysical Exploration for Cavity Detection in Karst Terrain. Proceeding of Symposium on Geotechnical Aspects Karst Terrain: Exploration, Foundation Design and Performance and Remedial Measures; Geotechnical Special Publication No. 14; ASCE; New York 1988; pp 25-39.

Belesky RM and Hardy HR. Seismic and Microseismic Methods for Cavity Detection and Stability Monitoring of Near Surface Voids. Proceeding of 27th US Symposium on Rock Mechanics: Key to Energy Production, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 1986; 1: 248-258.

Dravinski M. Ground Motion Amplification Due to Elastic Inclusions in a Half-space. Earthquake Engineering and Structure Dynamics 1983; 11(3): 313-335.

Curro JR. Cavity Detection and Delineation Research. Report 2, Seismic Methodology 1983; Medford Cave Site; Florida, U.S. Army Waterway Experiment Station Technical Report GL-83-1; U.S. Army Waterway Experiment Station; Vicksburg; Mississippi.

Ganji V, Gucunski N and Maher M. Detection of Underground Obstacles by SASW Method: Numerical Aspects. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 1997; 123(3): 212-219.

Shrivastava A. Detection of Subsurface Voids in Stratified Media Using Seismic Wave Methods. Master of Science Thesis. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University 2009.

Kaiser G. A friendly Guide to Wavelets. Boston: Birkhauser Publishing 1994.

Walker JS. A Primer on Wavelets and Their Scientific Applications. Florida: CRC Press 1999.

Walnut D. Introduction to Wavelet Analysis. Boston: Birkhauser Publishing 2002.

Zerwer A, Cascante G and Hutchinson J. Parameter Estimation in Finite Element Simulations of Rayleigh Waves. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenviromental Engineering 2002; 128(3): 250-261.