Chapter 3: An Introduction to Rock Physics Principles for Near-Surface Geophysics
Published:January 01, 2005
Geophysical methods can be used to obtain an image of the near surface of the earth. This image will display the spatial variation in the geophysical properties of the subsurface. In general, our interest is not in these geophysical properties, but in the physical, chemical, and biological properties and processes in the earth. To extract this type of information from our geophysical data, we need to transform our geophysical image into an image of these material properties.
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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).