Landform characterization using geophysics—Recent advances, applications, and emerging tools

Van Dam, Remke L. (2012) Landform characterization using geophysics—Recent advances, applications, and emerging tools. Geomorphology, 137(1), pp. 57-73.

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Abstract

This paper presents an overview of the strengths and limitations of existing and emerging geophysical tools for landform studies. The objectives are to discuss recent technical developments and to provide a review of relevant recent literature, with a focus on propagating field methods with terrestrial applications. For various methods in this category, including ground-penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity (ER), seismics, and electromagnetic (EM) induction, the technical backgrounds are introduced, followed by section on novel developments relevant to landform characterization. For several decades, GPR has been popular for characterization of the shallow subsurface and in particular sedimentary systems. Novel developments in GPR include the use of multi-offset systems to improve signal-to-noise ratios and data collection efficiency, amongst others, and the increased use of 3D data. Multi-electrode ER systems have become popular in recent years as they allow for relatively fast and detailed mapping. Novel developments include time-lapse monitoring of dynamic processes as well as the use of capacitively-coupled systems for fast, non-invasive surveys. EM induction methods are especially popular for fast mapping of spatial variation, but can also be used to obtain information on the vertical variation in subsurface electrical conductivity. In recent years several examples of the use of plane wave EM for characterization of landforms have been published. Seismic methods for landform characterization include seismic reflection and refraction techniques and the use of surface waves. A recent development is the use of passive sensing approaches. The use of multiple geophysical methods, which can benefit from the sensitivity to different subsurface parameters, is becoming more common. Strategies for coupled and joint inversion of complementary datasets will, once more widely available, benefit the geophysical study of landforms.Three cases studies are presented on the use of electrical and GPR methods for characterization of landforms in the range of meters to 100. s of meters in dimension. In a study of polygonal patterned ground in the Saginaw Lowlands, Michigan, USA, electrical resistivity tomography was used to characterize differences in subsurface texture and water content associated with polygon-swale topography. Also, a sand-filled thermokarst feature was identified using electrical resistivity data. The second example is on the use of constant spread traversing (CST) for characterization of large-scale glaciotectonic deformation in the Ludington Ridge, Michigan. Multiple CST surveys parallel to an ~. 60. m high cliff, where broad (~. 100. m) synclines and narrow clay-rich anticlines are visible, illustrated that at least one of the narrow structures extended inland. A third case study discusses internal structures of an eolian dune on a coastal spit in New Zealand. Both 35 and 200. MHz GPR data, which clearly identified a paleosol and internal sedimentary structures of the dune, were used to improve understanding of the development of the dune, which may shed light on paleo-wind directions.

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ID Code: 80127
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.09.005
ISSN: 0169555X
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Deposited On: 15 Jan 2015 03:23
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2015 01:04

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