Integrated use of surface geophysical methods for site characterization — A case study in North Kingstown, Rhode Island

By: , and 

Links

Abstract

A suite of complementary, non‐invasive surface geophysical methods was used to assess their utility for site characterization in a pilot investigation at a former defense site in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The methods included frequency‐domain electromagnetics (FDEM), ground‐penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), and multi‐channel analysis of surface‐wave (MASW) seismic. The results of each method were compared to each other and to drive‐point data from the site. FDEM was used as a reconnaissance method to assess buried utilities and anthropogenic structures; to identify near‐surface changes in water chemistry related to conductive leachate from road‐salt storage; and to investigate a resistive signature possibly caused by groundwater discharge. Shallow anomalies observed in the GPR and ERT data were caused by near‐surface infrastructure and were consistent with anomalies observed in the FDEM data. Several parabolic reflectors were observed in the upper part of the GPR profiles, and a fairly continuous reflector that was interpreted as bedrock could be traced across the lower part of the profiles. MASW seismic data showed a sharp break in shear wave velocity at depth, which was interpreted as the overburden/bedrock interface. The MASW profile indicates the presence of a trough in the bedrock surface in the same location where the ERT data indicate lateral variations in resistivity. Depths to bedrock interpreted from the ERT, MASW, and GPR profiles were similar and consistent with the depths of refusal identified in the direct‐push wells. The interpretations of data collected using the individual methods yielded non‐unique solutions with considerable uncertainty. Integrated interpretation of the electrical, electromagnetic, and seismic geophysical profiles produced a more consistent and unique estimation of depth to bedrock that is consistent with ground‐truth data at the site. This test case shows that using complementary techniques that measure different properties can be more effective for site characterization than a single‐method investigation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Integrated use of surface geophysical methods for site characterization — A case study in North Kingstown, Rhode Island
DOI 10.4133/1.3445441
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Contributing office(s) OGW Branch of Geophysics
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2010
First page 253
Last page 263