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Groundwater Resources Investigations


The principal objective of geophysical surveys for groundwater resource investigation is to develop an understanding of the local or regional geology and hydrogeologic properties, or to identify the local groundwater contaminant transport mechanism.


Typical objectives a of water resources geophysical survey include:

  • Identify geologic contacts
  • Map saltwater intrusion boundaries
  • Map stratigraphy, paleochannels, and buried aquifers
  • Determine potential contaminant pathways or barriers
  • Locate and map fault, fracture zones, and permeable in bedrock
  • Map leaks from containment ponds, dams, reservoirs, and landfill liners
  • Delineate groundwater contaminant plumes and monitor movement with time
  • Identify depth to groundwater and map lateral changes in groundwater surface
  • Determine depths of aquitards and producing zones to properly locate screened intervals during well construction and to optimize sampling efforts


Key benefits of using geophysics for your groundwater resources investigation include:

  • Determine contaminant migration pathways
  • Provide reconnaissance for large areas to aid in resource estimation
  • Reduce drilling requirements and costs by “spotting” the most appropriate locations for wells and soil borings
  • Provide information on the subsurface that is not economically obtainable by other means


A variety of surface geophysical methods can be used to search for fracture zones and geologic contacts that may be suitable targets for production or recovery well installation. Borehole methods can be extremely effective in identifying small fractures, aquitards and producing zones, and mapping changes in contaminant plumes vs. time. Borehole data are also valuable as an aid to interpreting the surface geophysical data.


Typical surface methods used by FPM to conduct Groundwater Resource investigations include:

  • Electrical resistivity
  • Seismic reflection and refraction
  • Potential field [magnetics, gravity, spontaneous potential (SP)]
  • Borehole methods (caliper, EM induction, natural gamma, acoustic or optical televiewer, heat-pulse and EM flowmeter, resistivity, and temperature, to name a few)