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Potential of Surface-to-Tunnel Seismic Tomography to Detect Vertical Faults: Application to the Tournemire Underground Research Laboratory, France

E. Vi Nhu Ba 1, 2 Mark S. Noble 1 C. Gelis 2 J. Cabrera 3 A. Gesret 1 
Abstract : The Tournemire Underground Research Laboratory (Aveyron, France), developed by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, is composed of a tunnel excavated in an argillaceous geological layer belonging to a limestone–argillite–limestone sub-horizontal sedimentary sequence. Sub-vertical fault zones are intercepted by drifts and boreholes excavated from the tunnel in the argillaceous layer at a depth of about 250 m. These fault zones are characterized by velocities lower than those of the embedding rocks. In this study, we assess the capacity of first arrival traveltime tomography to detect and characterize such fault zones in a surface-to-depth transmission configuration with a limited angle aperture. The source at the surface is a sledgehammer and turns out to be very repetitive. The source trigger is transmitted to the acquisition bay via a VHF transmitter. Receivers are located at depth in underground works. First arrivals are clear and traveltime picking is straightforward. Before inverting real data, we conduct synthetic tests with the real acquisition geometry to assess limits and validity of first arrival traveltime tomography to detect a lower velocity fault zone using different initial configurations and inversion constraints during the inversion. We show that introducing a priori information on velocities in the shallow subsurface, limestones and argillaceous layers and constraints on maximum velocities greatly helps improving results and subsequent interpretation. Velocities obtained from the real data display a main lower velocity zone that extends from the galleries in the argillaceous layer right up to the surface in limestones. The location and extension of this lower velocity zone are consistent with fault and fracture zones mapped from geological observations.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 5:00:34 PM
Last modification on : Friday, September 30, 2022 - 9:44:08 AM

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E. Vi Nhu Ba, Mark S. Noble, C. Gelis, J. Cabrera, A. Gesret. Potential of Surface-to-Tunnel Seismic Tomography to Detect Vertical Faults: Application to the Tournemire Underground Research Laboratory, France. Pure and Applied Geophysics, Springer Verlag, 2020, 177 (9), pp.4143 - 4159. ⟨10.1007/s00024-020-02505-0⟩. ⟨hal-02865389⟩

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