The emergence of hydrogeophysics for improved understanding of subsurface processes over multiple scales

Binley, Andrew and Hubbard, Susan and Huisman, Johan and Revil, Andre and Robinson, David and Singha, Kamini and Slater, Lee (2015) The emergence of hydrogeophysics for improved understanding of subsurface processes over multiple scales. Water Resources Research, 51. pp. 1-30. ISSN 0043-1397

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Geophysics provides a multi-dimensional suite of investigative methods that are transforming our ability to see into the very fabric of the subsurface environment, and monitor the dynamics of its fluids and the biogeochemical reactions that occur within it. Here, we document how geophysical methods have emerged as valuable tools for investigating shallow subsurface processes over the past two decades and offer a vision for future developments relevant to hydrology and also ecosystem science. The field of “hydrogeophysics” arose in the late 1990s, prompted, in part, by the wealth of studies on stochastic subsurface hydrology that argued for better field-based investigative techniques. These new hydrogeophysical approaches benefited from the emergence of practical and robust data inversion techniques, in many cases with a view to quantify shallow subsurface heterogeneity and the associated dynamics of subsurface fluids. Furthermore, the need for quantitative characterization stimulated a wealth of new investigations into petrophysical relationships that link hydrologically relevant properties to measurable geophysical parameters. Development of time-lapse approaches provided a new suite of tools for hydrological investigation, enhanced further with the realization that some geophysical properties may be sensitive to biogeochemical transformations in the subsurface environment, thus opening up the new field of “biogeophysics”. Early hydrogeophysical studies often concentrated on relatively small ‘plot-scale’ experiments. More recently, however, the translation to larger-scale characterization has been the focus of a number of studies. Geophysical technologies continue to develop, driven, in part, by the increasing need to understand and quantify key processes controlling sustainable water resources and ecosystem services.

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Journal Article
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Water Resources Research
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Copyright 2015 American Geophysical Union Evidence of acceptance is on publishers version.
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18 Jun 2015 08:36
Last Modified:
28 May 2023 02:44