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Basic Environmental Geophysics

Category: Site Characterization

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Course Materials:

BEG Course Agenda
BEG Student Manual

Course Description:

This 2-day course provides individuals who have little or no geophysical exploration experience with practical information on the strengths and limitations of the most used geophysical techniques on hazardous waste sites. It is intended to enable students to select the appropriate methods and to effectively supervise geophysical surveys during hazardous waste site investigations. This course bridges the gap between the 1-day Overview of Environmental Geophysics and the 3-day Introduction to Environmental Geophysics courses by providing more hands-on field equipment operating time than the 1-day course, while not requiring students to travel to a fixed facility, as with the 3-day course.

The course emphasizes three geophysical methods --magnetics, electromagnetics, and ground-penetrating radar -- most commonly employed for site characterization and waste location throughout the U.S. The course also introduces other methods --seismic refraction, gravity, resistivity, and borehole geophysics --that may be effective depending on regional or site-specific conditions, and for all methods provides examples of situations where they may be applicable. It is intended for personnel responsible for inspections, site characterization, site investigations, and removal and remedial actions at Superfund sites. The course focuses on investigation plan design; types of equipment suitable for hazardous waste site characterization; and, equipment operation and characteristic data displays for the three main methods.

The course includes lectures and field exercises. The field exercises focus on the most common techniques used for site assessment. Exercises will be conducted using Cesium Magnetometers, Time-domain and Frequency-domain Electromagnetic methods, and Ground Penetrating Radar.

After completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the various geophysical methods available for shallow environmental characterization that involves locating and resolving buried objects or evaluating site geology and hydrogeologic characteristics.
  • Understand the advantages and limitations of the magnetic, electromagnetic, seismic refraction, gravity, resistivity, borehole geophysics and ground-penetrating radar methods in environmental applications.
  • Design a field survey and operate the most frequently used types of geophysical instrumentation under field conditions.
  • Collect geophysical field data for use in resolving buried objects.

This course is a road version of a longer and more involved course usually offered at a specially constructed field site. The road course includes outdoor exercises. Participants should dress for field work. The exercise is conducted regardless of weather.