Geophysics for urban mining and the first surveys in Denmark: Rationale, field activity and preliminary results

Alessandro Sandrin, Aleksandar Maricak, Björn H. Heincke, Rune J. Clausen, Lars Nielsen, Jakob K. Keiding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Geophysical methods have been widely used in recent decades to investigate and monitor landfill sites for environmental purposes. With the advent of the circular economy, waste contained in old landfills may be considered a resource that can be developed. Since the content of old landfills is largely unknown, the occurrence and quantity of valuable materials must be investigated before embarking on any development activity. Two landfills on Sjælland, Denmark (located at Hvalsø and Avedøre) were selected for a pilot study to characterise their content. At both locations, a set of geophysical surveys is underway. Here, we present the data obtained from magnetic and 2D seismic refraction surveys. Magnetic data show various anomalies that can be interpreted as caused by iron-rich waste. At both sites, the landfill material results in generally low P-wave velocity (<400 m/s), lower than those obtained for Quaternary sediments at Avedøre. The seismic velocities appear to increase in the presence of metals or by compaction with depth (>550 m/s). We propose that seismic refraction can thus define the bottom of the landfill and possibly its internal structure, especially when combined with other methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5240
Number of pages6
JournalGeological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Circular economy
  • Denmark
  • Geophysics
  • Landfill
  • Urban mining
  • MiMa

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


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