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Near-surface geophysics and passive seismology

Equipment for near-surface geophysical monitoring and sub-surface characterisation.

Near-surface geophysics and passive seismology

Near-surface geophysics is a means of investigating small-scale features in the shallow (10s to 100s of meters) subsurface. This technique is commonly used for shallow natural resources and groundwater exploration, geotechnical investigation, archaeology, forensic science, environmental science and even military intelligence.

NGL has procured a range of advanced near-surface geophysics equipment that measures seismic, magnetic, electric, electromagnetic and gravitational physical responses of the earth.

The different tools can be used together or independently depending on the research aims but ultimately work to help gain a better understanding of what’s going on underground and create a 3D picture of the sub-surface.

Passive seismic monitoring is an innovative research method in the field of CCS although the scale of the deployment varies. Some projects may deploy few sensors, but NGL can simultaneously deploy many sensors, which is unique in Australia. The arrays are left in the ground for a number of months or years to record the natural seismic activity in the earth.

CCS applications

The near-surface geophysics equipment is used at various stages of the CCS value chain including site characterisation and baseline analysis and for ongoing monitoring and verification after injection.

Other applications

  • Oil and gas exploration and development including enhanced oil recovery
  • Unconventional resources
  • Mineral exploration
  • Earthquake hazards
  • Security or military applications
  • Forensics and archaeological projects
  • Geotechnical projects such as utilities mapping or construction
  • Groundwater projects such as mapping out and monitoring in arid environments
  • Critical infrastructure (e.g. bridge integrity)

Example Equipment

  • Magnetometer
  • Ground-penetrating radar (GPR)
  • Ground terrain conductivity meter
  • 3D resistivity
  • Near-surface active seismic
  • Mounted shallow-seismic source
  • EM terraTEM transmitter with TRC receiver
Australian Government Department of Education CSIRO The University of Western Australia Curtin University Western Australian Energy Research Alliance