Abstract

In permafrost regions investigations for such geotechnical endeavors as route selection for roads and pipelines and site investigations for buildings and dam construction often require that a careful assessment be made of the presence or absence of frozen ground, of the ice content of frozen ground, and of the depth of frozen ground.In the vicinity of Fairbanks, Alaska, where the permafrost is discontinuous, ground and airborne methods of mapping electrical resistivity using radiowaves were tested as means of delineating permafrost. When the resistivity maps are compared with surficial geological data, the following conclusions are reached: (1) In areas of fine-grained sediments, where the near surface sediments are relatively uniform, VLF resistivity delineates permafrost. (2) In areas where surface sediments vary widely (flood plains), VLF resistivity shows little information on permafrost conditions but can provide other important geotechnical information, such as, depth to bedrock, surface soil type, and layering.Comparison of the apparent resistivity derived from a surface impedance measurement at VLF on the ground with the apparent resistivity derived from an airborne measurement of wavetilt shows that the regional trends in the data agree, but the surface impedance measurements show much more local detail in ground conditions. When the surface layers are also frozen, the surface impedance method of measuring ground resistivity was found to have distinct advantages over conventional galvanic methods in terms of production and problems associated with probe contact resistance.

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