Near surface geophysics for geotechnical challenges

Near surface geophysics - a non-invasive, cost-effective, and efficient means for geotechnical challenges.

At Abitibi Geophysics, we believe near-surface geophysics plays a pivotal role in addressing geotechnical challenges by providing valuable insights into the subsurface characteristics of the Earth. These non-invasive and cost-effective techniques utilize various geophysical methods to analyze the near-surface materials. One of the primary advantages is the ability to map subsurface structures and detect anomalies without the need for extensive drilling or excavation. This minimizes site disturbance, reduces environmental impact, and saves both time and resources. By employing methods such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity, and borehole imaging, Abitibi Geophysics can provide geotechnical engineers with the data they need for a comprehensive understanding of the soil and rock properties, identifying potential risks, and designing effective solutions.

Near surface geophysics can be useful in numerous applications, such as:

  • Site characterization:

    • Bedrock topography (on land and underwater);

    • Thickness and quality of ice on lakes (see case study);

    • Depth of the water table;

    • Volume of lacustrine clay and sand/gravel deposits;

    • 3D mapping of fractures and geological contacts.

  • Environmental studies:

    • Mapping and monitoring of pollution plumes;

    • Detection of hydrocarbons;

    • Location of buried former reservoirs (empty or filled);

    • Mapping of landfill sites or filled quarries.

  • Inspection/surveillance:

    • Mining waste dumps and settling ponds;

    • Foundations, dams, saltwater intrusion;

    • Density of materials.

  • Locating buried objects and voids underground:

    • Metallic objects: pipelines, gas pipelines, tanks, casings;

    • Non-metallic: aqueducts, old mining works, tunnels, karst;

    • Archaeological studies.

Abitibi Geophysics offers a wide range of near surface surveys:

  • GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) - high resolution subsurface imaging.

  • EM (Electromagnetics) - measures conductivity contrasts.

  • Resistivity – measures resistivity contrasts.

  • Magnetics – detects magnetic bodies.

  • Gravity – void or excess mass detection.

  • Televiewer – provides a suite of downhole measurements.

  • Seismic Refraction - subsurface layer velocity determination.

  • Spectrometry - material spectral signature measurement.

Near-surface geophysics is an invaluable tool for many geotechnical challenges, providing a non-invasive, cost-effective, and efficient means of characterizing subsurface conditions. Its ability to enhance accuracy, minimize environmental impact, and support real-time decision-making makes it an essential component in the toolbox of geotechnical engineers.

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