Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is useful as a surface geophysical method for exploring geology and subsurface features in karst settings. Interpretation of GPR data was used to infer lithology and hydrogeologic conditions in west-central Florida. This study demonstrates how GPR methods can be used to investigate the hydrogeology of an area. GPR transmits radio- frequency electromagnetic waves into the ground and receives reflected energy waves from subsurface interfaces. Subsurface profiles showing sediment thickness, depth to water table and clay beds, karst development, buried objects, and lake-bottom structure were produced from GPR traverses obtained during December 1987 and March 1990 in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Hardee Counties in west-central Florida. Performance of the GPR method is site specific, and data collected are principally affected by the sediment and pore fluids, conductances and dielectric constants. Effective exploration depths of the GPR surveys through predominately unsaturated and saturated sand and clay sediments at five study sites ranged from a few feet to greater than 50 feet below land surface. Exploration depths were limited when high conductivity clay was encountered, whereas greater exploration depths were possible in material composed of sand. Application of GPR is useful in profiling subsurface conditions, but proper interpretation depends upon the user's knowledge of the equipment and the local hydrogeological setting, as well as the ability to interpret the graphic profile.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Application of ground-penetrating radar methods in determining hydrogeologic conditions in a karst area, west-central Florida
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],