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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20-24, 1993, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015

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Electromagnetic and Seismic Tomography Compared to Borehole Acoustic Televiewer and Flowmeter Logs for Subsurface Fracture Mapping at the Mirror Lake Site, New Hampshire


David L. Wright (U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colo.), Gary R. Olhoeft (U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colo.), Paul A. Hsieh (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.), Ernest L. Majer (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif.), Frederick L. Paillet (U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colo.), and John W. Lane Jr. (U.S. Geological Survey, Hartford, Conn.)


Among the techniques used in research at the Mirror Lake site, Grafton County, New Hampshire, are electromagnetic (EM) and seismic tomography, borehole radar, borehole acoustic televiewer, and borehole flowmeter. Of these techniques, tomography and radar can probe several tens of meters between or around boreholes at that site with resolutions in the order of 1 meter, whereas televiewer data provides great detail at the borehole wall but little penetration. Flowmeter data, along with hydraulic tests and tracer tests provide information on hydraulic connectivity, but hydraulic paths between the wells can not be inferred from these data alone. We find from side-by-side comparison of electromagnetic and seismic tomograms of rock properties between wells FSE1 and FSE4 that both types of tomograms show the presence of fractures of high hydraulic transmissivity. We present velocity tomograms for two EM systems and one seismic system, attenuation tomograms for the two EM systems, and projections of fractures derived from acoustic televiewer logs. The pulsed transmitters used in the EM tomography at Mirror Lake produced wavelengths in the granite of about 2 m. The seismic system produced wavelengths of about 1 m. Seismic and EM tomography can detect the presence of fractures whose aperture is much smaller than a wavelength but can not resolve fractures whose spacing is much less than the wavelength. Resolution-the ability to distinguish two nearby objects from one another-is determined by a number of factors, including spatial data density, but resolution usually can not be better than about half the wavelength used for probing regardless of whether the method is EM or seismic. It is possible to achieve some resolution improvement in low-attenuation environments, but a needed step to achieve maximum benefit from tomography is correlation of the tomograms with other hydrologic and geophysical information. Tomography is an art that is not fully mature but can be expected to improve in the future.

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