Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Mine Dogan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mohamed Sultan, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Stephen Moysey, Ph.D.


Electrical resistivity, geophysics, ground penetrating radar, infiltration, soil science, tree roots

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Effects of the root structures on soil infiltration dynamics are not clearly defined. Imaging the complex tree root structures and movement of water through the root ball is a challenging task to achieve without damaging the trees and roots by conventional methods. Commonly used methods are invasive, labor-intensive, and not easily accessible. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) has commonly been used to characterize soil profiles and it can be a reliable tool to map complex root structures with a novel high-resolution circular data collection technique. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) is another reliable geophysical method to image infiltration processes by the change in soil resistivity due to change in water content. GPR and ERT cross-sections for different soil moisture levels were modeled and examined to delineate the capabilities of both methods. Test GPR and ERT data over radial patterns collected on a chosen tree to understand the capabilities of the methods and compared to the models that are based on different moisture levels of the soil. An infiltration experiment was designed and conducted on two different tree species to monitor infiltration processes around root balls in time. During the experiment, circular GPR and ERT data were collected. Temperature and humidity changes were monitored by in-situ measurements (i-buttons) during the experiment for quantitative comparison with geophysical data. As a result, a map of the root structure and soil moisture distribution images changing in time around the root ball were produced by employing novel high-resolution geophysical methods.