This paper presents a comprehensive review of the recent advances in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements for near-surface characterization using laboratory, borehole, and field technologies. During the last decade, NMR has become increasingly popular in near-surface geophysics due to substantial improvements in instrumentation, data processing, forward modeling, inversion, and measurement techniques. This paper starts with a description of the principal theory and applications of NMR. It presents a basic overview of near-surface NMR theory in terms of its physical background and discusses how NMR relaxation times are related to different relaxation processes occurring in porous media. As a next step, the recent and seminal near-surface NMR developments at each scale are discussed, and the limitations and challenges of the measurement are examined. To represent the growth of applications of near-surface NMR, case studies in a variety of different near-surface environments are reviewed and, as examples, two recent case studies are discussed in detail. Finally, this review demonstrates that there is a need for continued research in near-surface NMR and highlights necessary directions for future research. These recommendations include improving the signal-to-noise ratio, reducing the effective measurement dead time, and improving production rate of surface NMR (SNMR), reducing the minimum echo time of borehole NMR (BNMR) measurements, improving petrophysical NMR models of hydraulic conductivity and vadose zone parameters, and understanding the scale dependency of NMR properties.
- Programområde 2: Vandressourcer