Absorption and frequency shift of GPR signals in sandy and silty soils: empirical relations between quality factor Q, complex permittivity and clay and water contents
T. Wunderlich and W. Rabbel
Journal name: Near Surface Geophysics
Issue: Vol 11, No 2, April 2013 pp. 117 - 127
Special topic: Ground-Penetrating Radar
Info: Article, PDF ( 8.28Mb )
Price: € 30
The arrival time, shape and amplitude of a reflected GPR wavelet depend mainly on the real and imaginary parts of dielectrical permittivity and electrical conductivity. All these parameters are strongly affected by the water and clay content of soils. From a comparison of the amplitude and shape of the direct and reflected wavelets the quality factor Q can be determined independently as an additional soil parameter. To investigate the relationships between the influencing factors, we conducted high-frequency GPR reflection measurements on soil samples with varying clay and water contents. The Q factor, derived from the spectral ratio method, is found to be between 5–15 for our samples that range from about 5–90% in sand content, 5–65% in silt content, 3–63% in clay content and 0–37% in pore water content. A multivariate non-linear empirical function linking water and clay content to Q agrees well with the observations. We found that the ratio of the real and imaginary parts of the dielectric permittivity depends basically on the clay content. Therefore, it may become possible to determine the clay content of soils in situ from a combination of GPR and conductivity measurements. The Q values determined from spectral ratios are confirmed by synthetic radargrams and agree with the observed decrease of the central frequency of GPR reflections caused by absorption.