Methods and an apparatus for determining at least one characteristic of an environment are disclosed. A vibrational energy may be imparted into an environment and a magnitude of damping of the vibrational energy may be measured and at least one characteristic of the environment may be determined. Particularly, a vibratory source may be operated and coupled to an environment. At least one characteristic of the environment may be determined based on a shift in at least one steady-state frequency of oscillation of the vibratory source. An apparatus may include at least one vibratory source and a structure for positioning the at least one vibratory source proximate to an environment. Further, the apparatus may include an analysis device for determining at least one characteristic of the environment based at least partially upon shift in a steady-state oscillation frequency of the vibratory source for the given impetus.