IP signals of UXOs

Identifying the characteristic spectral induced polarization (SIP) signals produced by UXOs

Thesis details
IP signals of UXOs
  • 6 months
  • M.Sc.
  • 90% Programming
  • 80% Field work
  • 10% Lab work
  • 60% Theory
  • 70% Processing
  • 60% Interpretation
  • 50% Geology
Contact person
Florian M. Wagner's profile picture
Univ.-Prof. Dr. sc.
Florian M. Wagner

Even more than 70 years after the end of the Second World war, unexploded ordnance (UXO) are a serious hazard in many places around the world. In Germany, unexploded aerial bombs are a major concern owing to their highly destructive nature. Thus, extensive surveys are often required before construction work can be carried out in areas of concern. Geophysics can aid in the detection of potential UXOs by measuring anomalies in the subsurface. Since most UXOs possess a metal shell of some sort, in most cases magnetics, electromagnetics, and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) are used to search for UXOs. All methods have certain advantages and limitations and there remain areas where none of the methods can provide suitable information about the subsurface.

A currently not used method is geoelectrics, in particular the (spectral) induced polarization (SIP) method. A previous IDEA League Master thesis by Simone Probst showed a promising approach. However, there seems to be an influence owing to soil composition and condition, that needs to be understood before applying the method to real life UXO surveys. For that purpose, various scenarios will be created in controlled sandbox experiments using different soils and synthetic measurements using the SIP-approach will be deducted.

Your tasks:

  • Construct and run synthetic sandbox experiments with various metallic objects (dummies and real, but disarmed UXO) that are placed in different locations with varying orientation.
  • Evaluate the results and compare the experiment outcomes to predictions made by theoretical forward models.
  • Draw conclusions regarding the detectability of UXO using SIP.
  • Apply the investigated SIP method on a large-scale UXO detection test site.

Supplementary Documents

The M.Sc. thesis by Simone Probst (2023) will be made available to interested students.

This thesis topic is offered in cooperation with assistant professor Dr. Norbert Klitzsch from CG3 - Computational Geoscience, Geothermics and Reservoir Geophysics and Dr. Jan-Philipp Schmoldt from Tauber Geo-Consult.
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