Geological Survey receives grant to advance underground-imaging techniques

Fri, 01/24/2014

Contact

Rick Miller
Kansas Geological Survey
785-864-2091

LAWRENCE—The Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas has been awarded a $650,000 grant from the company XRI Geophysics to improve on technologies used to detect underground voids and faults, to determine the fitness of earthen dams and levees, and in other endeavors.

“With this funding we will continue to advance seismic-imaging technologies conceived and developed at the KGS since the late 1990s,” said Rick Miller, KGS senior scientist and geophysicist.

XRI, headquartered in Vicksburg, Miss., is a private geoscience company that provides services and support to industry and governmental entities for research and advancements related to near-surface geophysics, geology, hydrology and energy resources.

Geophysics researchers at the KGS study the physical properties of the earth, including its electrical, gravitational, magnetic, radioactive and seismic characteristics. The grant will fund further development of noninvasive, high-resolution seismic methods used to characterize rocks and structures in the shallow subsurface — down to about 300 feet deep.

Using seismic-characterization technologies, sound waves are created and measured as they travel through or around underground structures and sediments. Because sound waves travel through different rock types, sediments and fluids in distinct ways, the measurements can be used to interpret various rock conditions and properties.

Seismic characterization has a number of applications in engineering, construction, archeological studies, groundwater investigations, public safety and the identification of such hazards as abandoned mines, caves, fractures and voids that could lead to sinkholes.

Although seismic reflection has been used for several decades, commonly in oil and gas exploration, the KGS has made technological breakthroughs in the past 10 years that overcome limitations of traditional imaging tools used in the shallow subsurface.

“Our objective is to further improve operational efficiency, location and property measurement accuracy, and confidence as well as reduce false positive anomaly detections and allow for near real-time results,” Miller said.

The KGS researchers use a specially outfitted, self-contained vehicle that incorporates an active sound energy source, towed sensors, and a recording and analysis capability.



KU in the news
The Wall Street JournalMon, 04/14/2014
The New York TimesMon, 04/14/2014
April showers bring…snow? Chris Bernosky, freshman in the University of Kansas School of Engineering, was studying in the sixth floor lobby of Oliver when he saw this storm coming in over campus. “I thought it was cool how the sun is still visible even though the dark clouds are rolling in.” Rain or shine, how will you #exploreKU this spring?

The Big Event at KU 2014 The 2014 Big Event connected the KU campus with the Lawrence community by recruiting 3,000 student, faculty, and staff volunteers to work at 300 local job sites during one day of service.  Registration for volunteers and job requests for residents will be available in fall 2014 for the 2015 Big Event. Check for updates at http://thebigeventku.com .


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
$275 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times