- Copyright: © 2009 This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL.
Procedures are tested and compared for processing Rayleigh surface wave data to obtain one-dimensional shear wave velocity profiles for a hypothetical site that contains a buried high-velocity layer (HVL). The main purpose of such an investigation would be to discriminate and characterize the HVL. When target dispersion curves are derived from synthetic time histories, for the most part, the HVL is better identified when profiles are inverted using only the fundamental mode of Rayleigh wave propagation, rather than a more compatible but more complex forward model. The outcomes imply that in practice, a simple forward model might be more successful in recovering a complex profile than a more sophisticated model because for the latter, adequate interpretation of the field data requires more accuracy than might be achievable with conventional approaches.