A Geophysical Investigation of Hydraulic Pathways at the Panola Mountain Research Watershed
Hebert, Gabriel John
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The Panola Mountain Research Watershed (PMRW) is a 41 ha forested watershed, located 25 km southeast of Atlanta, Georgia. Within that watershed is a 10 ha sub-catchment which contains the headwaters of the watersheds main stream, as well as two outcrops of Panola Granite (Burns et al. 2001). On the hill-slope below the northernmost outcrop, is a 20m long trench that has been excavated down to bedrock, a depth that ranges from 0.5-1.5m. In previous studies (Burns et al., 2001; Freer, et al., 2002), discharge through the overlying soils was measured along the trench in 2m sections across the full length of the trench. In those studies, it was assumed that the underlying bedrock was impermeable. However, Burns et al. (2003) showed that the riparian groundwater downslope from the trenched hillslope site was only 6 to 7 years old. The permeability of the Panola granite in question was proven by a recent Lithium- Bromide line tracer experiment -van Meerveld et al., in review. Due to the levels of bromide in the bedrock measured at the trench, it has become apparent that fluid is being lost to hidden hydraulic pathways, those probably being fractures. The objective of this thesis is to test the viability of using shallow seismic reflection to map out fracture zones at the trenched hillslope site, using GPR and shallow seismic refraction as supplemental techniques to verify the interpretation. Data from two seismic common shot point (CSP) surveys permitted an image of the soil/bedrock interface to be constructed, as well as enabling an acoustic velocity profile to be calculated for the area. This velocity profile is then used with data from five reflection surveys (one seismic and four radar) to create vertical profiles of the subsurface. Although the resulting SSR profile is less than optimum, higher amplitude arrivals related to structure were still able to be detected. From this profile, as well as those from the GPR survey, it can be concluded that the proposed hidden hydraulic pathways due indeed exist, and also that they can be accurately mapped out using the previously mentioned geophysical methods.