Geophysical Science

Geophysical Projects

The University of Kentucky - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences - Geophysical Sciences Program has been conducting extensive geophysical characterizations of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) and vicinity since 1992.  Dr. Ron Street, Ph.D. and students Christina Langston and J.B. Harris evaluated historical geophysical data collected at the PGDP. Subsequently, more than 17 km of shear (SH) wave reflection data were collected in the immediate vicinity of the PGDP and areas encompassing the trichloroethene (TCE) and technetium-99 (99Tc) groundwater contaminant plumes (Langston, 1998).  The eventual 1998 release of the report "Acquisition of SH-Wave Seismic Reflection and Refraction Data in the Area of the Northeastward Trending Contaminant Plume at the PGDP" remains the single largest geophysical investigation conducted at the PGDP.

Langston (1998) identified the major structural features in bedrock underlying the PGDP along several of the collection lines. Data processing and filtering capabilities of the time allowed the bedrock displacement features to be tracked upward through overlying (younger) and more recent unconsolidated materials to the approximate surface of the Region Gravel Aquifer (RGA).

Rapid advances in geophysical data interpolation capabilities occurred in the late 1990's and early 2,000's. Pre- and post-processing, filtering, new algorithms and rapid improvement of public and proprietary software allowed researchers to re-process "old" data. Data collected during the 1998 study has been re-processed over the course of two recent geophysical investigations to provide targets for additional field data collection.

Seeing into the Earth:  Noninvasive Characterization of the Shallow Subsurface for Environmental and Engineering Applications

geophysical study SH wave data collection lines

Langston (1998) geophysical study SH wave data collection lines (17km).