ABSTRACT

Time-lapse ground-penetrating radar (GPR) measurements are used to image/monitor, for example, water infiltration, water table changes, and fluid/gas flow patterns. Although crosshole GPR is often preferred over surface-reflection GPR in such studies, its application is limited by the selected borehole geometry, which may be difficult to define in an optimal way, especially in experiments in which flow pathways are difficult to predict. Surface-reflection GPR data sets are generally faster to collect over relatively large areas and are therefore more efficient for covering the volume when a fast-moving tracer (e.g., gas) may infiltrate a heterogeneous subsurface medium. We have used a diffraction imaging approach on time-lapse surface-reflection GPR data to detect changes in radar wave velocity associated with gas (CO2) injected into a heterogeneous chalk succession. We initially test and evaluate the diffraction imaging approach on synthetic GPR data. Afterward, we apply the methodology to time-lapse GPR field data, and we evaluate the robustness of using information from diffractions in light of the obtained data quality. The synthetic tests indicate that diffractions provide essential information for delimiting the area affected by gas in the heterogeneous chalk section studied. Our field experiment shows that using the diffraction information alone allows for detection of gas-affected zones and, therefore, potential flow characteristics of gas movement. We infer that the CO2 flow patterns in our study most likely are determined by small-scale fractures rather than the porosity/permeability of the rock matrix. Moreover, the approach used may serve as an initial study for future more targeted experiments or for further detail-retrieving full-waveform inversion.

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