Students investigate environmental restoration site in New Mexico


  • John F. Ferguson,

    1. Geosciences Department, FO 21, University of Texas at Dallas, PO Box 688 Richardson, TX 75080 USA
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  • W. Scott Baldridge,

  • George R. Jiracek,

  • Victor Gonzalez,

  • Paul A. Pope


Investigations conducted during the 1997 Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience (SAGE) field course at one site at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) successfully delineated a waste disposal trench dug in the 1940s. The survey, which was popular with the students, provided them with important experience in “real world” geophysical problems and demonstrated that students can obtain useful and important results during a short field exercise.

The utility of the magnetic, seismic refraction, and ground-penetrating radar methods will be demonstrated on a profile through one of the major waste trenches at the site. The magnetic and radar methods are sensitive to the presence of metallic objects buried within the trenches. A low-velocity trench structure is defined by the seismic refraction data. Models of the trench structure are both accurate (linear dimensions are probably good to within a few meters) and somewhat different from prior expectations.