Detection of Spatially Limited High-Porosity Layers Using Crosshole GPR Signal Analysis and Full-Waveform Inversion

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High-permittivity layers, related to high-porosity layers or impermeable clay lenses, can act as low-velocity electromagnetic waveguides. Electromagnetic wave phenomena associated with these features are complicated, not well known and not easy to interpret in borehole GPR data. Recently, a novel amplitude analysis approach was developed that is able to detect continuous low-velocity waveguides and their boundaries between boreholes by using maximum and minimum positions of the trace energy profiles in measured GPR data. By analyzing waveguide models of different thickness, dip, extent, permittivity, and conductivity parameters, we extend the amplitude analysis to detect spatially limited or terminated waveguides. Waveguides that show high-amplitude elongated wave trains are most probably caused by a change in porosity rather than a change in clay content. In a crosshole GPR data set from the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site, two terminated wave-guiding structures were detected using the extended amplitude analysis. Information gained from the amplitude analysis improved the starting model for full-waveform inversion which imaged the lateral extent and thickness of terminated waveguides with high resolution. Synthetic data calculated using the inverted permittivity and conductivity models show similar amplitudes and phases, as observed in the measured data, which indicates the reliability of the obtained models. Neutron-Neutron logging data from three boreholes confirm the changes in porosity and indicate that these layers were high-porosity sand units within low-porosity, poorly sorted sand, and gravel units.

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This document was originally published in Water Resources Research by Wiley on behalf of the American Geophysical Union. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1002/2013WR015177