Cross-polarized GPR imaging of fracture flow channeling
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Ground penetrating radar (GPR) can be used to image fractures and monitor fluid flow in the subsurface. Conventional GPR imaging uses single-polarization, co-polarized acquisition. We examine the use of cross-polarized GPR signals for imaging flow channeling in a discrete horizontal fracture. Numerical modeling (FDTD) demonstrates that when the fracture channel is oriented at an oblique angle to the survey line, depolarization of the GPR signal results in scattered energy along the cross-polarized components. When the channel is oriented parallel or orthogonal to the survey line, all scattered energy is captured by the co-polarized components and no signal is present in the cross-polarized orientation. Multipolarization, time-lapse 3D GPR field data were acquired at the Altona Flat Rock test site in New York State. The GPR surveys were conducted during background fresh fracture water conditions and during a natural gradient saline tracer test which was used to highlight flow channels along a sub-horizontal fracture. Amplitude analysis of the cross-polarized data reveals flow channeling that is in agreement with the co-polarized GPR images and with independent hydraulic tests. This investigation demonstrates that cross-polarized components of GPR signals can be used to enhance imaging of flow channels in fractured media.
Key WordsGPR single-polarization cross-polarized data rapid flow saline tracer fractured rock
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