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Evaluation of Electromagnetic Induction (EMI) Resistivity Technologies for Assessing Permafrost Geomorphologies

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Technical Report

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Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) Hanover United States

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Effective and efficient mapping of permafrost subsurface composition at scales relevant to the design and maintenance of horizontal and vertical infrastructure has been a long-standing challenge. Of utmost utility would be the development of standoff measurement techniques that could discern at the meter to submeter spatial scale and up to 10 m into the subsurface the presence or absence of ice features. Ground-based geophysical measurement techniques, including ground penetrating radar, borehole logging, and electrical resistivity, have been used to interrogate the subsurface in permafrost terrains at the meters to kilometers scales. Airborne measurement techniques have broad applicability at the larger, kilometers to tens of kilometers scale and could support linear infrastructure development and terrain mapping. However, there is a broad need for cost-effective airborne geophysical techniques to obtain high-resolution measurements of specific areas of interest. This report explores the potential application of airborne EMI methods for the investigation and mapping of permafrost and reviews current Engineer Research and Development Center ERDC EMI survey capabilities and new opportunities, including the development of a new medium-scale autonomous EMI instrument.

Subject Categories:

  • Snow, Ice and Permafrost
  • Cartography and Aerial Photography
  • Magnetic and Electric Field Detection and Detectors

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