Different Approaches for Estimating Ground Strains from Pile Driving Vibrations at a Buried Archeological Site

Ground strains were estimated from vibrations measured during pile driving operations at a buried, prehistoric archeological site to monitor potential construction impacts. Subsurface characteristics of the site were investigated using multiple cone penetration test (CPT) soundings and the shear wave velocity profile was measured using the seismic CPT method. Embedded geophones and surface accelerometers were then used to measure ground vibrations during pile driving. Displacement gradients were estimated from the vibrations using the following three methods: (1) the difference between adjacent displacements divided by sensor spacing; (2) peak particle velocity divided by depth-dependent wave velocity (i.e., at the depth where the sensor was placed); and (3) peak particle velocity divided by frequency-dependent wave velocity from a measured dispersion curve. Methods (1) and (3) agreed well, while method (2) caused errors that depended on depth of embedment of the sensors and distance from pile driving. Errors in (2) were attributed to a mismatch between the depth-dependent wave velocity and the wave velocity on the frequency band that carried the largest velocity pulse through the dispersive soil profile. Ground strains were related to displacement gradients based on theoretical solutions of harmonic body waves and Rayleigh waves in dispersive elastic media. The peak estimated ground strains were smaller than the threshold volumetric shear strain, but a few centimeters of settlement were nevertheless observed at the site. The spatial extent of the settlement is characterized using attenuation rules fit to the vibration data, and by calibration with a settlement gauge. Ground cracking and vertical offsets that could potentially mask the archaeological history of the site were neither observed nor predicted from the observed vibration amplitudes. Estimated impact on archeological interpretation of artifacts in their stratigraphic context was likely insignificant except in the immediate region where the piles were driven. This insight will assist in future planning at sites with similar subsurface stratigraphy.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Brandenberg, Scott J
    • Coe, Joseph
    • Nigbor, Robert L
    • Tanksley, Kim
  • Publication Date: 2009-8


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01140698
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 20 2009 3:16PM