ASTM D7400 - 08

    Standard Test Methods for Downhole Seismic Testing

    Active Standard ASTM D7400 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.09

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    Significance and Use

    The seismic downhole method provides a designer with information pertinent to the seismic wave velocities of the materials in question (1). The P-wave and S-wave velocities are directly related to the important geotechnical elastic constants of Poissons ratio, shear modulus, bulk modulus, and Youngs modulus. Accurate in-situ P-wave and S-wave velocity profiles are essential in geotechnical foundation designs. These parameters are used in both analyses of soil behavior under both static and dynamic loads where the elastic constants are input variables into the models defining the different states of deformations such as elastic, elasto-plastic, and failure. Another important use of estimated shear wave velocities in geotechnical design is in the liquefaction assessment of soils.

    A fundamental assumption inherent in the test methods is that a laterally homogeneous medium is being characterized. In a laterally homogeneous medium the source wave train trajectories adhere to Snells law of refraction. Another assumption inherent in the test methods is that the stratigraphic medium to be characterized can have transverse isotropy. Transverse isotropy is a particularly simple form of anisotropy because velocities only vary with vertical incidence angle and not with azimuth. By placing and actuating the seismic source at offsets rotated 90° in plan view, it may be possible to evaluate the transverse anisotropy of the medium.

    Note 1—The quality of the results produced by this standard is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities. Agencies that meet the criteria of Practice D 3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D 3740 does not in itself assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D 3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.

    1. Scope

    1.1 These test methods are limited to the determination of the interval velocities from arrival times and relative arrival times of compression (P) and vertically (SV) and horizontally (SH) polarized shear (S) seismic waves which are generated near surface and travel down to an array of vertically installed seismic sensors. A preferred method intended to obtain data for use on critical projects where the highest quality data is required is included. Also included is an optional method intended for use on projects which do not require measurements of a high degree of precision.

    1.2 Various applications of the data will be addressed and acceptable procedures and equipment, such as seismic sources, receivers, and recording systems will be discussed. Other items addressed include source-to-receiver spacing, drilling, casing, grouting, a procedure for borehole installation, and conducting actual borehole and seismic cone tests. Data reduction and interpretation is limited to the identification of various seismic wave types, apparent velocity relation to true velocity, example computations, use of Snell's law of refraction, and assumptions.

    1.3 There are several acceptable devices that can be used to generate a high-quality P or SV source wave or both and SH source waves. Several types of commercially available receivers and recording systems can also be used to conduct an acceptable downhole survey. Special consideration should be given to the types of receivers used and their configuration. Heavily-damped sensors should not be used so that spectral smearing, phase shifting, and latency response between sensors is avoided. These test methods primarily concern the actual test procedure, data interpretation, and specifications for equipment which will yield uniform test results.

    1.4 All recorded and calculated values shall conform to the guide for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D 6026.

    1.4.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected/recorded and calculated in these test methods are regarded as the industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the significant digits that should generally be retained. The procedures used do not consider material variation, purpose for obtaining the data, special purpose studies, or any considerations for the users objectives; and it is common practice to increase or reduce significant digits of reported data to be commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope of these test methods to consider significant digits used in analysis methods for engineering design.

    1.4.2 Measurements made to more significant digits or better sensitivity than specified in these test methods shall not be regarded a nonconformance with this standard.

    1.5 This standard is written using SI units. Inch-pound units are provided for convenience. The values stated in inch pound units may not be exact equivalents; therefore, they shall be used independently of the SI system. Combining values from the two systems may result in nonconformance with this standard.

    1.5.1 The gravitational system of inch-pound units is used when dealing with inch-pound units. In this system, the pound (lbf) represents a unit of force (weight), while the unit for mass is slugs. The rationalized slug unit is not given, unless dynamic (F = ma) calculations are involved.

    1.5.2 It is common practice in the engineering/construction profession to concurrently use pounds to represent both a unit of mass (lbm) and of force (lbf). This implicitly combines two separate systems of units; that is, the absolute system and the gravitational system. It is scientifically undesirable to combine the use of two separate sets of inch-pound units within a single standard. As stated, this standard includes the gravitational system of inch-pound units and does not use/present the slug unit for mass. However, the use of balances or scales recording pounds of mass (lbm) or recording density in lbm/ft3 shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction

    D4428/D4428M Test Methods for Crosshole Seismic Testing

    D5778 Test Method for Electronic Friction Cone and Piezocone Penetration Testing of Soils

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.160 (Vibrations, shock and vibration measurement)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 81151902(Geophysical exploration); 71112300(Seismic services)


    DOI: 10.1520/D7400-08

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