Traditional methods for estimating vadose zone soil properties using ground penetrating radar (GPR) include measuring travel time, fitting diffraction hyperbolae, and other methods exploiting geometry. Additional processing techniques for estimating soil properties are possible with properly calibrated GPR systems. Such calibration using ground-coupled antennas must account for the effects of the shallow soil on the antenna's response, because changing soil properties result in a changing antenna response. A prototype GPR system using ground-coupled antennas was calibrated using laboratory measurements and numerical simulations of the GPR components. Two methods for estimating subsurface properties that utilize the calibrated response were developed. First, a new nonlinear inversion algorithm to estimate shallow soil properties under ground-coupled antennas was evaluated. Tests with synthetic data showed that the inversion algorithm is well behaved across the allowed range of soil properties. A preliminary field test gave encouraging results, with estimated soil property uncertainties (±σ) of ±1.9 and ±4.4 mS/m for the relative dielectric permittivity and the electrical conductivity, respectively. Next, a deconvolution method for estimating the properties of subsurface reflectors with known shapes (e.g., pipes or planar interfaces) was developed. This method uses scattering matrices to account for the response of subsurface reflectors. The deconvolution method was evaluated for use with noisy data using synthetic data. Results indicate that the deconvolution method requires reflected waves with a signal/noise ratio of about 10:1 or greater. When applied to field data with a signal/noise ratio of 2:1, the method was able to estimate the reflection coefficient and relative permittivity, but the large uncertainty in this estimate precluded inversion for conductivity.

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