The desirable characteristics of vibrators such as a wide, controllable bandwidth and high repeatability has led to them becoming the most popular land seismic sources. The hydraulic vibrators typically used for land seismic acquisition, however, are large, costly to operate and expensive to purchase. This inhibits their use for small-scale surveys, such as those of the near surface and vertical seismic profiles, as well as Vibroseis research. In this paper we describe the construction of a simple portable vibrator from commercially available components, principally a number of low-frequency actuators, which can be assembled in days at a cost of less than $5,000. The peak-force of the vibrator is greater than 70 kg (686 N) and could easily be increased by adding additional actuators. Initial field results show that the vibrator is superior to a sledgehammer and is capable of transmitting sweeps with optimised spectral content. We hope that the ease with which such units can be built and operated will inspire others to use portable vibrators for near-surface work and foster further Vibroseis research.


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