Near-surface geophysics has throughout its history enjoyed success at both ends of the exploration geophysics evolutionary chart as a benefactor and contributor. Almost all near-surface methods are traceable to or from petroleum exploration. Noteworthy examples are captured in works by such pioneers as Howell, Kean, and Thompson, who in 1940 were the first to experiment with seismic energy above 2 kHz using a loud speaker; or Evison's 1952 paper where he describes the inadequacies of conventional seismic for imaging shallow targets; or Jakosky, who in his 1938 paper went the other direction, extending the principally shallow groundwater and mining-based exploration capabilities of electrical methods to petroleum targets.

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