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Detection and Mapping of Fractures and Cavities using Borehole Radar

F. P. Haeni, Geophysical Consulting (860-227-0643,
Lucien Halleux, G-Tec (+32 87 79 52 22,
Carole D. Johnson, U.S. Geological Survey (860-487-7402,
John W. Lane, Jr., U.S. Geological Survey (860-487-7402,


Borehole radar can be used in a single-hole reflection mode or in a cross-hole tomography mode. In the reflection mode, radar provides an image of discontinuities in the bedrock surrounding a borehole, including bedding planes, lithologic contacts, fractures, and cavities. The measurements are either directional or omni-directional, depending upon the type of equipment and antennas. In the tomography mode, where the transmitter and receiver are in separate boreholes, radar provides an image of the planar section between the boreholes. The radius of investigation depends on the antenna frequency and the electrical conductivity of the bedrock. For a central frequency of 100 megahertz, in the reflection mode the ranges are typically 10 to 40 meters in resistive solid rock and less than 5 meters in conductive, clay-rich, or silty rock.

Single-hole and cross-hole radar also have been used for water-supply investigations in the northeast-ern United States. Borehole radar was used to investigate crystalline bedrock in two rapidly developing com-munities that rely on water resources in the bedrock. The surveys were conducted and interpreted along with data from other borehole geophysical tools. The borehole radar surveys were used to identify the location and orientation of reflectors, locate the primary pathways of flow to the supply wells, and identify aquifer character-istics that may be useful in siting a production well and protecting high-yielding wells in crystalline rocks.

Borehole radar has been used to investigate fractures, cavities, and lithologic changes at several sites in Europe. The radar data has been interpreted in conjuction with the results of modeling of borehole-radar re-sponse. At the Grimsel nuclear waste laboratory in Switzerland, single-hole reflection and tomography methods were used to characterize the rock in inclined boreholes. At numerous geotechnical sites in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, borehole radar has been used to characterize the rock and identify fractures and cavities.

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Final copy as submitted to Fractured Rock 2002 for publication as: Haeni, F.P., Halleux, Lucien, Johnson, C.D., and Lane, J.W., Jr., 2002, Detection and mapping of fractures and cavities using borehole radar, in Fractured Rock 2002, Denver, Colorado, March 13-15, 2002, Proceedings: Westerville, Ohio, National Ground Water Association, 4p.

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