American Society of Civil Engineers

Seismic Refraction Tests above Water Table

by Guy Bonnet, (Inst. de Mécanique de Grenoble, Domaine Univ., 38402 St. Martin d’Heres, France) and Michel Meyer, (Lab. de Sci. du Sol, École Nat. Supérieure d’Agronomie, 34060 Montpellier Cedex, France)

Journal of Geotechnical Engineering
, Vol. 114, No. 10, October 1988, pp. 1183-1189, (doi:

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Document type: Technical Note
Discussion: by Dwain K. Butler    (See full record)
Abstract: The note describes seismic refraction tests above a water table at shallow depth. The depth of water table estimated by the refraction test is always greater than the real level of the water. An interpretation based on the effect of relative displacement between solid and fluid (Biot model) is disregarded. It is shown that this effect is probably due to a nonsaturated zone below the water table. The test is therefore considered a good technique for estimating in situ the saturation ratio below the water table.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Water table
Seismic tests
Shallow water
Unsaturated flow