Crosshole ground-penetrating radar in clay-rich quaternary deposits: Toward characterization of high-loss media

E.B. Svendsen, L. Nielsen, B. Nilsson, K.H. Kjær, M.C. Looms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Knowing the centimeter-to meter-scale distribution of sand in clayey deposits is important for determining the dominating water flow pathways. Borehole information has a high vertical resolution, on the millimeter- to centimeter-scale, but provides poor lateral coverage. For highly heterogeneous deposits, such as glacial diamicts, this detailed borehole information may not be sufficient for creating reliable geological models. Crosshole ground-penetrating radar (GPR) can provide information on the decimeter- to meter-scale variation between boreholes, but has mainly been used in sandy environments. In this study, we investigate whether crosshole GPR can provide information on the structural relationship of diamicts and their material properties, such as water content, bulk density, and clay content. To achieve ground truth, we compare the crosshole GPR data with geological information from boreholes and an excavation at the field site. The GPR data was analyzed comprehensively using several radar wave attributes in both time- and frequency domain, describing the signal velocity, strength, and shape. We found small variations in signal velocity (between 0.06 and 0.07 m/ns) but large variations in both amplitude and shape (either order of magnitude variation or doubling/tripling of attribute values). We see that the GPR response from wetter and more clayey diamicts have both lower amplitudes and lower centroid frequencies than the response from their drier and sandier counterparts. Lastly, we find that the variation in amplitude and shape attributes is better correlated to the diamicts' material properties than the signal velocity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022JB025909
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • amplitude analysis
  • attribute analysis
  • clay content
  • crosshole GPR
  • diamict
  • high-loss

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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