Vertically oriented thin fractures are not always detected by conventional single-polarization reflection profiling ground-penetrating radar (GPR) techniques. We study the polarization properties of EM wavefields and suggest multipolarization acquisition surveying to detect the location and azimuth of vertically oriented fractures. We employ analytical solutions, 3D finite-difference time-domain modeling, and field measurements of multipolarization GPR data to investigate EM wave transmission through fractured geologic formations. For surface-based multipolarization GPR measurements across vertical fractures, we observe a phase lead when the incident electric-field component is oriented perpendicular to the plane of the fracture. This observation is consistent for nonmagnetic geologic environments and allows the determination of vertical fracture location and azimuth based on the presence of a phase difference and a phase lead relationship between varying polarization GPR data.

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