Shallow seismic reflection has been successfully applied to environmental problems in a variety of geologic settings. Increased dynamic range of recording equipment and decreased cost of processing hardware and software have made seismic reflection a cost-effective means of imaging shallow geologic targets. Seismic data possess sufficient resolution in many areas to detect faulting with displacement of less than 3 m and beds as thin as 1 m. We have detected reflections from depths as shallow as 2 m. Subsurface voids associated with abandoned coal mines at depths of less than 20 m can be detected and mapped. Seismic reflection has been successful in mapping disturbed subsurface associated with dissolution mining of salt. A graben detected and traced by seismic reflection was shown to be a preferential pathway for leachate leaking from a chemical storage pond. As shown by these case histories, shallow high-resolution seismic reflection has the potential to significantly enhance the economics and efficiency of preventing and/or solving many environmental problems. ?? 1994.
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Applications of shallow high-resolution seismic reflection to various environmental problems