Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Estella Atekwana

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Cassidy

Third Advisor

Dr. William Sauck

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Integrated geophysical surveys, including electromagnetic (EM-31), magnetic, dc resistivity, and ground penetrating radar (GPR) methods and soil borings were used to investigate part of a former refinery site in Carson City, Michigan, which has more than a 50-year history of hydrocarbon contamination.

Although not readily evident on the magnetic anomaly maps, the EM-31 conductivity map clearly revealed many sections of buried pipes of various lengths and orientations. Also evident on the EM maps are extensive near surface conductivity anomalies. Soil borings in zones of anomalous conductivities to the west suggest the presence of shallow clays with pooled hydrocarbons at depths less than 50 cm beneath the surface. The contaminated zones showed significant attenuation of the GPR signal amplitudes, indicating elevated soil conductivities coincident with the hydrocarbon contamination. The results also confirms that GPR penetration is extremely sensitive to changes in conductivity. The inclusion of geophysical techniques at the initial phase of remediation programs and design is strongly recommended and should lead to significant cost savings at thousands of remediation sites.

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