Applied Geophysics

Geophysical Investigations

Supporting ground water resource investigations, environmental site characterizations,
and delineation of other subsurface features

ERS personnel bring significant knowledge and experience in the use of geophysical techniques for subsurface site characterization. These techniques are based on mapping lateral and vertical variations in physical properties to interpret geology, structure, ground water, contamination, and human artifacts beneath the Earth’s surface.
Examples of the geophysical techniques employed by ERS include measurement and interpretation of variations in electric, electromagnetic, seismic, or gravity properties. These technologies have been traditionally used for prospecting of economic materials such as ores and petroleum, but the methods are relevant for a wide array of environmental, hydrological, geotechnical and engineering projects, including:

  • Determining soil or rock properties
  • Identifying geologic structures such as buried stream channels, landslides, or faults
  • Investigating groundwater resources and hydrogeologic properties
  • Characterizing variability in ground water quality or flow
  • Delineating or characterizing landfills or buried waste
  • Locating underground tanks, utilities, excavations, or archeological features

Although geophysical techniques are still underutilized in environmental and engineering projects, these methods provide a means to evaluate large areas or volumes of the subsurface with limited or no excavation or drilling. This means sites can often be evaluated rapidly and at significantly lower cost than through the use of traditional methods.