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Multi-component digital-based seismic landstreamer and boat-towed radio-magnetotelluric acquisition systems for improved subsurface characterization in the urban environmentNormal access

Authors: Bojan Brodic, Alireza Malehmir, Merhdad Bastani, Suman Mehta, Christopher Juhlin, Emil Lundberg and Shungao Wang
Journal name: First Break
Issue: Vol 35, No 8, August 2017 pp. 41 - 47
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 719.87Kb )
Price: € 30

It is estimated that urban life will be the norm for around 60% of the world’s population by 2040, leading to a more centralized distribution of people and making the city as the main place of residence (Whiteley, 2009). This population centralization inherently implies rapidly expanding cities and imposes the need for more infrastructure within, around and between the present city boundaries. However, infrastructure projects nowadays have to follow strict civil engineering standards that require detailed knowledge of subsurface conditions during different stages of the construction processes. Since direct methods conventionally used for site characterization (e.g., drilling and/or core testing) are still relatively expensive the focus in the last two decades has been on non-invasive, geophysical methods. However, geophysical site characterization in urban areas is not an easy task owing to numerous challenges and various types of noise sources. Challenges such as electric/electromagnetic (EM) noise, pipelines and other subsurface objects (sometimes even unknown or undocumented), the inability to properly couple sensors because of pavement, traffic noises and limited space are common in urban environment. Since geophysical surveys need to be done with the least amount of disturbances to the environment, residents and traffic, new geophysical techniques for fast, non-invasive and high-resolution site characterization are needed. To overcome some of these challenges, a nationwide joint industry-academia project was launched in 2012 TUST GeoInfra, www.trust-geoinfra.se). As a component in the project, Uppsala University developed two new data acquisition systems. These are a fully digital MEMS-based (Micro-machined Electro-Mechanical Sensor) three component (3C) seismic landstreamer and a boat-towed radio-magnetotelluric (RMT) acquisition system. Both systems were specifically designed to address urban environments with the RMT system particularly aiming at efficient and cost-effective geophysical surveying on shallow-water bodies, which constitute 7% of Scandinavia. In this article, we will describe the two systems and present two case studies illustrating their potential. A number of published accounts are now available from the two systems showing what type of problems they can address (e.g., Bastani et al., 2015; Brodic et al., 2015; Malehmir et al., 2015a, 2015b, 2016a, 2016b, 2017; Dehghannejad et al., 2017; Maries et al., 2017; Mehta et al., 2017; Brodic et al., 2017).

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