Increasing awareness of environmental concerns has prompted the application of geophysical methods to help in the remediation of situations which are harmful to our environment.
One example of such a situation occurs during development when a preliminary (Phase 1) investigation reveals the historic presence of an underground storage tank (UST) in an unknown location which was never removed. Due to the large magnetic field produced by a steel UST, the location of the lost tank may be determined by magnetics & electromagnetics. If there is a great deal of electromagnetic interference, or if the tank is not ferromagnetic, GPR may be used to locate the lost tank, due to the contrast in dielectric values with the surrounding soil.
In the case of a contaminant plume which may have entered the groundwater, variations in electrical resistivity can indicate the location of the plume so that the contaminated soils may be located and removed.
Historic landfills may be delineated through the application of magnetics & electromagnetics and GPR, with an estimate of the depth of the landfill through refraction seismic or electrical resistivity.
Many other unique applications are possible. Geophysics provides a toolbox which may be applied to a variety of situations. Understanding the tools allows us to apply creative combinations of geophysical methods to unique problems.