Development of Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves (MASW) for Characterising the Internal Structure of Active Fault Zones as a Predictive Method of Identifying the Distribution of Ground Deformation
Thesis DisciplineEngineering Geology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Bulk rock strength is greatly dependent on fracture density, so that reductions in rock strength associated with faulting and fracturing should be reflected by reduced shear coupling and hence S-wave velocity. This study is carried out along the Canterbury rangefront and in Otago. Both lie within the broader plate boundary deformation zone in the South Island of New Zealand. Therefore built structures are often, , located in areas where there are undetected or poorly defined faults with associated rock strength reduction. Where structures are sited near to, or across, such faults or fault-zones, they may sustain both shaking and ground deformation damage during an earthquake. Within this zone, management of seismic hazards needs to be based on accurate identification of the potential fault damage zone including the likely width of off-plane deformation. Lateral S-wave velocity variability provides one method of imaging and locating damage zones and off-plane deformation. This research demonstrates the utility of Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Waves (MASW) to aid land-use planning in such fault-prone settings. Fundamentally, MASW uses surface wave dispersive characteristics to model a near surface profile of S-wave velocity variability as a proxy for bulk rock strength. The technique can aid fault-zone planning not only by locating and defining the extent of fault-zones, but also by defining within-zone variability that is readily correlated with measurable rock properties applicable to both foundation design and the distribution of surface deformation. The calibration sites presented here have well defined field relationships and known fault-zone exposure close to potential MASW survey sites. They were selected to represent a range of progressively softer lithologies from intact and fractured Torlesse Group basement hard rock (Dalethorpe) through softer Tertiary cover sediments (Boby’s Creek) and Quaternary gravels. This facilitated initial calibration of fracture intensity at a high-velocity-contrast site followed by exploration of the limits of shear zone resolution at lower velocity contrasts. Site models were constructed in AutoCAD in order to demonstrate spatial correlations between S-wave velocity and fault zone features. Site geology was incorporated in the models, along with geomorphology, river profiles, scanline locations and crosshole velocity measurement locations. Spatial data were recorded using a total-station survey. The interpreted MASW survey results are presented as two dimensional snapshot cross-sections of the three dimensional calibration-site models. These show strong correlations between MASW survey velocities and site geology, geomorphology, fluvial profiles and geotechnical parameters and observations. Correlations are particularly pronounced where high velocity contrasts exist, whilst weaker correlations are demonstrated in softer lithologies. Geomorphic correlations suggest that off-plane deformation can be imaged and interpreted in the presence of suitable topographic survey data. A promising new approach to in situ and laboratory soft-rock material and mass characterisation is also presented using a Ramset nail gun. Geotechnical investigations typically involve outcrop and laboratory scale determination of rock mass and material properties such as fracture density and unconfined compressive strength (UCS). This multi-scale approach is espoused by this study, with geotechnical and S-wave velocity data presented at multiple scales, from survey scale sonic velocity measurements, through outcrop scale scanline and crosshole sonic velocity measurements to laboratory scale property determination and sonic velocity measurements. S-wave velocities invariably increased with decreasing scale. These scaling relationships and strategies for dealing with them are investigated and presented. Finally, the MASW technique is applied to a concealed fault on the Taieri Ridge in Macraes Flat, Central Otago. Here, high velocity Otago Schist is faulted against low velocity sheared Tertiary and Quaternary sediments. This site highlights the structural sensitivity of the technique by apparently constraining the location of the principal fault, which had been ambiguous after standard processing of the seismic reflection data. Processing of the Taieri Ridge dataset has further led to the proposal of a novel surface wave imaging technique termed Swept Frequency Imaging (SFI). This inchoate technique apparently images the detailed structure of the fault-zone, and is in agreement with the conventionally-determined fault location and an existing partial trench. Overall, the results are promising and are expected to be supported by further trenching in the near future.