Output-only modal analysis techniques and dynamic monitoring for vibration-based structural health assessment are primary tools for the investigation of the dynamic behavior even of very complex systems. An increasing attention towards these techniques and the opportunities they offer is rising also in the civil engineering field. In the present paper, the attention is focused on the possibility to enhance the knowledge about specific civil engineering systems using traditional and innovative operational modal analysis (OMA) methods. Two case studies are presented: one is focused on the assessment of the performance of the Second Order Blind Identification for output-only modal analysis in the presence of closely spaced modes. In the other, OMA is applied to the simulated dynamic response of an embedded retaining wall. Encouraging results are obtained, pointing out that OMA can be confidently applied also to the analysis of wall vibrations induced by propagating waves.
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