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Introduction To Environmental Geophysics

Category: Geophysics

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Course Materials:

IEG Agenda
IEG 2019 Student Manual

Course Description:

This 3-day course involves hands-on field surveys to search for geophysical anomalies generated by actual typical objects encountered on Superfund sites; and processing and interpretation of the data.  As such it requires use of a field with buried objects at known locations, orientations and depths and is currently only presented at the EPA Region 4 Laboratory in Athens, Georgia.

This course provides individuals who have little or no geophysical exploration experience with practical information to effectively design and supervise geophysical surveys during hazardous waste site investigations. These techniques can be used on Superfund or Brownfields sites or sites where decisions must be made as to buried hazardous materials. The course focuses on plan design, types of equipment suitable for hazardous waste site characterization, equipment operation, procedures for safely collecting data, and the fundamentals of downloading, and processing and making simple interpretations of the data through comparison of the results generated by each type of instrument.   Participants are also introduced to common data management software used for generating contour maps of the data.  It is intended for personnel responsible for inspections, site characterization, site investigations, and removal and remedial actions at Superfund and other potential hazardous sites.

The course is designed to be consistent with the EPA protocol and guidance documents entitled, Compendium of ERT Soil Sampling and Surface Geophysics Procedures, A Compendium of Superfund Field Operations Methods, and Data Quality Objectives Process for Superfund.

Topics that are discussed include: field work plan development; procedures for the use of geophysical methods for field screening; procedures for collection of field data using magnetic, seismic, gravity, electromagnetic and resistivity instruments; geophysical borehole logging; ground-penetrating radar; and quality assurance considerations.

Instructional methods include lectures, group discussions, demonstrations, computer modeling of data, and outdoor field exercises with an emphasis on the hands-on use of geophysical equipment.

After completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the various geophysical methods available for shallow environmental characterization
  • Describe the advantages and limitations of the magnetic, electromagnetic, seismic refraction, gravity, resistivity, borehole geophysics and ground-penetrating radar methods in environmental applications
  • Operate geophysical instrumentation under field conditions
  • Collect geophysical field data for use in resolving buried objects and determining geologic and hydrogeologic characteristics
  • Make an interpretation of simple geophysical field data to resolve buried objects and determine geologic characteristics.

    The course is usually offered at a specially constructed field site. The course includes three half-day outdoor exercises. Participants should dress for fieldwork. The exercises are conducted regardless of weather.

Continuing Education Units: 2.0


*This course is offered free of charge to all registrants who are confirmed to attend.*