This study reports the combination of remote sensing and ground geophysical techniques to locate an abandoned and hidden municipal solid waste landfill located in a fluvial plain in the French Western Alps. Following earthworks and further floods that eroded into the river bank, wastes made of a mixture of plastic, metal and soil/earth, were uncovered and some of them flowed into the river. The existence of an abandoned landfill, several decades-old, was known, but the knowledge of its exact location was forgotten. Historic aerial photographs back to 1948 allowed delineation in space and time of the location of a platform that was used for landfill operations between around 1973 and 1983. A LiDAR DEM acquired in 2012 allowed was used to locate topographic depressions 0.1 to 0.4 m in depth, notably inside the platform. These depressions are interpreted as resulting from differential compaction originating from the presence of compressible wastes. Geophysical mapping techniques (magnetic and electromagnetic) confirmed the presence of anomalies inside the identified platform. Geophysical imaging techniques (ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistivity tomography) provided a quantitative evaluation of the width and depth of the individual pits. The combination of the different techniques allowed for estimating the first-order volume of waste. The methodology adopted in this work is applicable to detect landfills exhibiting differential compaction and physical contrasts.

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