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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-478
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-478
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  26 Oct 2020

26 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Stratigraphic Identification with Airborne Electromagnetic Methods at the Hanford Site, Washington

Piyooh Jaysaval, Judith L. Robinson, and Timothy C. Johnson Piyooh Jaysaval et al.
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 902 Battelle Blvd, Richland, WA 99354, USA

Abstract. Stratigraphic units can influence the fate and transport of subsurface contaminants within groundwater. Units having coarse-grained sediments act as preferential flow pathways, and therefore can accelerate the transport of contaminants to reach human and ecological receptors. At legacy waste sites, detailed knowledge of subsurface stratigraphy can be used for effective monitoring and remediation planning to help minimize risk to human health and the environment. Airborne electromagnetic (AEM) methods can non-invasively provide information on kilometer-scale or larger subsurface stratigraphic features and fill informational gaps in directly sampled data from sparsely located boreholes. In this paper, we present inversion results of a 412 line-km frequency-domain AEM survey to delineate subsurface stratigraphic features at the Hanford Site, located in southeastern Washington State. The inversion was performed using a massively parallel 3D electromagnetic modeling and inversion code, where the modeling is based on solving frequency-domain Maxwell’s equations using an unstructured-mesh finite-element method and the inversion employs a Gauss-Newton optimization scheme. The results are compared to an underlying geologic framework model (GFM), built by interpolating contact depths of stratigraphic units interpreted from site borehole datasets. In areas with good borehole coverage, the inversion results show a good match with the GFM to a depth of about 60 m. Outside of these areas, the inversion results exhibit inconsistencies from the assumptions made to create the GFM, demonstrating that the AEM survey results can be used to improve the understanding of the geological conceptual model.

Piyooh Jaysaval et al.

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Piyooh Jaysaval et al.

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Short summary
As contaminants within groundwater prefer to flow through coarse-grained rocks, a detailed mapping of these rocks in the subsurface is vital for effective monitoring and remediation planning to help minimize risk to human health and the environment at legacy waste sites. This work provides images that are obtained from airborne electromagnetic data to delineate subsurface rocks at the Hanford Site, a nuclear waste site located in southeastern Washington State, USA.
As contaminants within groundwater prefer to flow through coarse-grained rocks, a detailed...
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