February 2006 Meeting

Monday, February 13, 2006
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
Lamar Alexander Building
Room 223


Recent Advances in Hydrogeophysics

Dr. Gregory S. Baker
Jones/Bibee Endowed Assistant Professor of Geophysics
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of Tennessee - Knoxville


Near-surface geophysics is a nexus of active advancement in many fields of earth science. Current near-surface geophysics research at the University of Tennessee is focused in three areas: (1) developing new instrumentation and data processing techniques; (2) improving standard operating procedures for data collection; and (3) demonstrating applied examples of state-of-the-art techniques. Research over the past five years has led to advancements in hydrology, environmental geology, archaeology, glacial geology, geomorphology, volcanology, and structural geology. This presentation, however, will focus only on recent research in near-surface geophysics related to hydrology.

The relatively recent appearance of the term &ldquohydrogeophysics&rdquo corresponds with a growing awareness by policy makers on the importance of integrating geophysics and hydrology in groundwater resource management and environmental site characterization. Workers in research labs, industry, and academe have of course been working in this field long before the arrival of the new label. However, as a result of this growing interest--and important previous work--on the fusion of the two fields, a paradigm shift is occurring in which geophysical data is no longer used strictly as supplemental qualitative information for groundwater models, but rather is a critical quantitative constraint for understanding these complex systems. Several recent advances of techniques in near-surface geophysics as applied to hydrologic problems will be presented. These will include studies of fracture-related flow anisotropy using seismic refraction tomography, rapid azimuthal electrical resistivity analysis, and dense 3D GPR volume visualizations, as well as target discrimination (e.g., NAPL identification) using amplitude variation with offset analysis on GPR data. The purpose of presenting these hydrogeophysics case histories is to elucidate the breadth of problems that can be tackled using near-surface geophysics and stimulate discussion relative to future directions of research.


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