• Geophysical Applications for Arctic/Subarctic Transportation Planning

      Schnabel, William E.; Fortier, Richard; Kanevskiy, Mikhail; Munk, Jens; Shur, Yuri; Trochim, Erin (Alaska University Transportation Center, 2014-07)
      This report describes a series of geophysical surveys conducted in conjunction with geotechnical investigations carried out by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the value of and potential uses for data collected via geophysical techniques with respect to ongoing investigations related to linear infrastructure. One or more techniques, including direct-current resistivity, capacitive-coupled resistivity, and ground-penetrating radar, were evaluated at sites in continuous and discontinuous permafrost zones. Results revealed that resistivity techniques adequately differentiate between frozen and unfrozen ground, and in some instances, were able to identify individual ice wedges in a frozen heterogeneous matrix. Capacitive-coupled resistivity was found to be extremely promising due to its relative mobility as compared with direct-current resistivity. Ground-penetrating radar was shown to be useful for evaluating the factors leading to subsidence in an existing road. Taken as a whole, the study results indicate that supplemental geophysical surveys may add to the quality of a geotechnical investigation by helping to optimize the placement of boreholes. Moreover, such surveys may reduce the overall investigation costs by reducing the number of boreholes required to characterize the subsurface.