Case histories in the application of geophysics to ground water problems

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Pliva, G. L.
Wong, J.
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Ontario Ministry of the Environment

Although geophysical techniques have been used for many years in ground-water problems, their application in hydro-geology has never been as intensive as in the mining and petroleum industries. Because of the different scales of financial returns from successful exploration programs for water resources as opposed to those for metallic and hydrocarbon resources, a great deal more money and effort have been expended by the mining and oil industries in research and development of sophisticated geophysical techniques. Consequently, the geophysical techniques commonly applied to ground-water problems have largely been adopted from the mining and petroleum industries. However, as ground-water resources take on an increasing importance in urban and industrial development, ground-water geophysics will become more of a separate sub-discipline with specialized research aimed specifically at the problems involved in applying geophysics to hydrogeology. Such research will be justified as the present techniques find wider and wider application, increasing the experience and confidence of hydrogeologists in these techniques, as well as suggesting the development of new geophysical methodology. This publication is intended to serve as information which hopefully will help create an awareness in interested hydrogeologists of some of the capabilities of and present state-of-the-art in ground-water geophysics. It is organized as a series of five case histories, each of which highlights a particular technique or a particular problem. Part I deals with the use of ground electrical and seismic methods in reconnaisance prospecting for sand and gravel deposits as potential aquifers. Part. II involves the use of seismic refraction in mapping bedrock depths as part of a groundwater survey. Part III reports the use of surface electrical methods to a ground-water contamination problem in which salt was leached into a sandy aquifer. Part IV involves a rather specialized case in which magnetic methods were used to search for buried fuel storage tanks thought to be the source of fuel contaminating an aquifer. Finally, Part V is an example of a situation where well logging proved useful in water-supply development.

Ontario Ministry of the Environment
Other O.M.E. Environmental Reports
aquifer, seismic refraction, resistivity, salt-water contamination, fuel storage facility, groundwater contamination, geophysical well logging technique, magnetic method