Buffalo Gun

Published: May 23, 2019 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Buffalo Gun Mean?

A buffalo gun is used for non-destructive testing of sub-surface soil and rock strata. It is used in geotechnical investigation methods such as seismic refraction which utilizes surface sourced seismic waves. A seismic wave is energy transfer by way of particle motion and is of three types namely, compression wave, shear wave, and surface wave. The velocity of seismic waves depends on density elastic moduli.

Trenchlesspedia Explains Buffalo Gun

In a geotechnical survey involving seismic refraction, low-frequency seismic energy pulses are emitted using a seismic source such as a buffalo gun, weight drop or hammer weight, depending on the depth of wave penetration required and prevalent site conditions.

As the seismic waves propagate downward, they are reflected or refracted off layers in the subsurface. 24 or 48 geophones arranged at regular intervals of 1 to 10 meters detect these refracted seismic waves. The output data from the geophones is compiled and processed by a seismograph.

The seismic trace components include direct wave, reflected wave and critically refracted wave.

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