Shear Wave Reflection Seismics Image Internal Structure of Quick-Clay Landslides in Sweden

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Ulrich Polom1, Charlotte M Krawczyk1 and Alireza Malehmir2, (1)Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics, Hannover, Germany, (2)Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Covering many different sizes of scale, landslides are widespread and pose a severe hazard in many areas as soon as humans or infrastructure are affected. In order to provide geophysical tools and techniques to better characterize sites prone to sliding, a geophysical assessment working towards a geotechnical understanding of landslides is necessary.

As part of a joint project studying clay-related landslides in Nordic countries by a suite of geophysical methods, we therefore tested the use of shear wave reflection seismics to survey shallow structures that are known to be related to quick-clay landslide processes in southern Sweden. On two crossing profiles, a land streamer consisting of 120 SH-geophones with 1 m spacing was deployed, and an ELVIS micro-vibrator was shaking every 4 m to generate the shear wave signal. SH-wave data of high quality were thereby acquired to resolve the gaps between P-wave data and electrical and surface wave based methods of lower resolution.

After quality control, correlation, subtractive stack, and geometry setup, single shot gathers already demonstrate the high data quality gained in the region, especially on a gravel road. The migrated depth sections image the structural inventory down to ca. 50 m depth with vertical resolution of less than 1 m. Horizontally layered sediments are visible in the upper 40 m of soft (marine) sediments, followed by top basement with a rough topography varying between ca. 20-40 m depth. The imaged, bowl-shaped basement morphology centres near the profile crossing, and basement is exposed at three sides of the profiles.

Three distinct sediment sequences are separated by high-amplitude unconformities. The quick-clay layer may be located above the marked reflection set that lies on top of the more transparent sequence that levels out the basement. Located between 15-20 m depth, this correlates with the height of the last scarp that occurred in the area. In addition, shear wave velocities are determined and can be used for geotechnical interpretation.