Abstract

High-resolution tomographic images obtained from crosshole geophysical measurements have the potential to provide valuable information about the geostatistical properties of unsaturated-zone hydrologic-state variables such as moisture content. Under drained or quasi-steady-state conditions, the moisture content will reflect the variation of the physical properties of the subsurface, which determine the flow patterns in the unsaturated zone. Deterministic least-squares inversion of crosshole ground-penetrating-radar (GPR) traveltimes result in smooth, minimum-variance estimates of the subsurface radar wave velocity structure, which may diminish the utility of these images for geostatistical inference. We have used a linearized stochastic inversion technique to infer the geostatistical properties of the subsurface radar wave velocity distribution using crosshole GPR traveltimes directly. Expanding on a previous study, we have determined that it is possible to obtain estimates of global variance andmean velocity values of the subsurface as well as the correlation lengths describing the subsurface velocity structures. Accurate estimation of the global variance is crucial if stochastic realizations of the subsurface are used to evaluate the uncertainty of the inversion estimate. We have explored the full potential of the geostatistical inference method using several synthetic models of varying correlation structures and have tested the influence of different assumptions concerning the choice of covariance function and data noise level. In addition, we have tested the methodology on traveltime data collected at a field site in Denmark. There, inferred correlation structures indicate that structural differences exist between two areas located approximately 10 m apart, an observation confirmed by a GPR reflection profile. Furthermore, the inferred values of the subsurface global variance and the mean velocity have been corroborated with moisture-content measurements, obtained gravimetrically from samples collected at the field site.

You do not currently have access to this article.