Chapter 2: Special Challenges Associated with the Near Surface
Associating the phrases Special Challenges and Near Surface, as extracted from the title of this chapter, may not entirely describe a unique, one-to-one mapping relationship as the details of this chapter are revealed. Indeed, some of the challenges to be reviewed are ubiquitous in the world of experimental geophysics. However, trying to acquire data that would reveal very shallow geological detail may exacerbate these problems until they can no longer be ignored. It is one thing to examine seawater from the deck of a ship, quite another while swimming in it. While we have not really changed our frame of reference, by being so close to that which we are trying to observe, our “camera” begins to have problems. The action-at-a-distance physics techniques we are trying to employ are barely “at a distance.”
Figures & Tables
Near-surface geophysics uses the investigational methods of geophysics to study the nature of the very outermost part of the earth’s crust. Man interacts with this part of the earth’s crust: he walks on it; he drills and excavates into it; he constructs structures on and in it; he utilizes its water and mineral resources; and his wastes are stored on and in it and seep into it. The very outermost part of the Earth’s crust is extremely dynamic-in both technical (physical properties) and nontechnical (political, social, legal) terms-which leads to both technical and nontechnical challenges that are much different than the challenges faced by “traditional” applications of geophysics for regional geologic mapping and for oil and gas exploration (see Chapter 2).