Vertical radar profiling (VRP) is a single-borehole geophysical technique, in which the receiver antenna is located within a borehole and the transmitter antenna is placed at one or various offsets from the borehole. Today, VRP surveying is primarily used to derive 1D velocity models by inverting the arrival times of direct waves. Using field data collected at a well-constrained test site in Germany, we evaluated a VRP workflow relying on the analysis of direct-arrival traveltimes and amplitudes as well as on imaging reflection events. To invert our VRP traveltime data, we used a global inversion strategy resulting in an ensemble of acceptable velocity models, and thus, it allowed us to appraise uncertainty issues in the estimated velocities as well as in porosity models derived via petrophysical translations. In addition to traveltime inversion, the analysis of direct-wave amplitudes and reflection events provided further valuable information regarding subsurface properties and architecture. The used VRP amplitude preprocessing and inversion procedures were adapted from ray-based crosshole ground-penetrating radar (GPR) attenuation tomography and resulted in an attenuation model, which can be used to estimate variations in electrical resistivity. Our VRP reflection imaging approach relied on corridor stacking, which is a well-established processing sequence in vertical seismic profiling. The resulting reflection image outlines bounding layers and can be directly compared to surface-based GPR reflection profiling. Our results of the combined analysis of VRP, traveltimes, amplitudes, and reflections were consistent with independent core and borehole logs as well as GPR reflection profiles, which enabled us to derive a detailed hydrostratigraphic model as needed, for example, to understand and model groundwater flow and transport.

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