Multi-Offset GPR Methods for Hyporheic Zone Investigations

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Porosity of stream sediments has a direct effect on hyporheic exchange patterns and rates. Improved estimates of porosity heterogeneity will yield enhanced simulation of hyporheic exchange processes. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) velocity measurements are strongly controlled by water content thus accurate measures of GPR velocity in saturated sediments provides estimates of porosity beneath stream channels using petrophysical relationships. Imaging the substream system using surface based reflection measurements is particularly challenging due to large velocity gradients that occur at the transition from open water to saturated sediments. The continuous multi-offset method improves the quality of subsurface images through stacking and provides measurements of vertical and lateral velocity distributions. We applied the continuous multi-offset method to stream sites on the North Slope, Alaska and the Sawtooth Mountains near Boise, Idaho, USA. From the continuous multi-offset data, we measure velocity using reflection tomography then estimate water content and porosity using the Topp equation. These values provide detailed measurements for improved stream channel hydraulic and thermal modelling.