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Applied Geophysical Research

The Office of Ground Water, Branch of Geophysics (OGW BG) conducts applied geophysical research to support studies of the Nation's water resources. Research at the Branch is focused on the development and testing of new and emerging geophysical methods to image near-surface geologic structure, measure hydraulic properties, and estimate physical properties that control hydrologic processes.

Applied research conducted by OGW BG is supported by numerous sources including the Office of Ground Water, the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, the Ground-Water Resources Program, and cooperative relationships with other federal agencies, state agencies, and universities.


Research Directions

Applied research by the Office of Ground Water, Branch of Geophysics focuses on several themes:

Current examples of some of these themes are included below. For more information, also see our recent publications or our online geophysical technology information and resources section.


In recent years, hydrologists and geophysicists have been placing an increased emphasis on the development and advancement of the field of hydrogeophysics. Professional societies such as the American Geophysical Union define hydrogeophysics as

the use of geophysical methods to estimate parameters and monitor processes important to hydrological investigations, such as those associated with water resources, contaminant transport, ecological and climate investigations.

Hydrogeophysics emphasizes a more fully integrated approach to the study and applications of hydrology and geophysics, from project planning through data collection and into data analysis and interpretation. This theme runs through much of the applied research conducted by the OGW, Branch of Geophysics, particularly in the areas of contaminant detection and geophysical monitoring.

Development of Advanced Methods

The field of geophysics is constantly evolving, with new equipment being developed and emerging applications for existing methods and systems. OGW, Branch of Geophysics uses a wide array of geophysical methods and equipment, and is actively involved in the development and testing of new and emerging geophysical data acquisition and analysis methods that can be applied to groundwater investigations. Some of our recent applied research in this area has included the following methods:

Electrical Resistivity



Hydraulic Methods

Natural gamma

Temperature Monitoring


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