A newly developed helicopter transient electromagnetic (TEM) system has the ability to measure very early times within just a few μs after the turn off of the primary current. For such a system, careful calibration and accurate modeling of the electromagnetic (EM) response is critical to get true resistivities of the very shallow geologic layers. We discovered that this leads to resolution of the same level or in some cases even better than what can be obtained from airborne frequency EM systems. This allowed a range of important applications where high and accurate resolution is mandatory, e.g., geotechnical applications such as urban planning, railroad and road investigations, landslides or distribution of raw materials, and assessing aquifer vulnerability. We evaluated the results of a pilot survey covering the Norsminde catchment south of Aarhus, Denmark, where we found that near-surface layers (top 30 m) can be mapped with an accuracy of a few meters in a complicated glacial sedimentary environment. The mapping of the geologic layers was assessed by a detailed analysis in which we developed a general methodology for crosschecking the EM and borehole data. This methodology is general and can easily be adapted to other data types and surveys. After rating the quality of the boreholes based on a list of predefined criteria, we concluded that the EM data matched with about three-quarters of the boreholes located within less than 15 m from the closest EM soundings. The remaining quarter of the boreholes fell into two groups in which half of the boreholes were of very poor quality or had inaccurate coordinates. Only eight of all the boreholes could not be reproduced by the data, and we attributed this to be caused by very strong lateral or vertical geologic variations not resolvable by the TEM technique.

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