Technical Report NTB 87-32

Crosshole investigations –Results from borehole radar investigations

The borehole radar method has been developed and applied to the localization and characterization of fracture zones in crystalline rock. In a geological medium such as crystalline rock there is a significant attenuation of the radar waves, increasing with frequency. There is, however, a frequency window from a few MHz to a few hundred MHz where the wave aspect of the radar dominates and acceptable ranges can be achieved.

A new borehole radar system has been designed, built and tested. The system consists of borehole transmitter and receiver probes, a signal control unit for communication with the borehole probes, and a computer unit for storage and display of data. The system can be used both in single hole and crosshole modes and probing ranges of 115 m and 300 m, respectively, have been obtained at Stripa. The borehole radar is a short pulse system which uses center frequencies in the range 20 to 60 MHz, corresponding to wavelengths of a few meters in the rock.

Single hole reflection measurements have been used to identify fracture zones and to determine their position and orientation. The zones often cause strong and well defined reflections originating from the resistivity change at the edges of the zones. The exact orientation of the zones can be determined by combining data from several boreholes.

Reflections are also observed in crosshole measurements. A new technique has been developed for the analysis of crosshole reflection data which in principle allows the orientation to be uniquely determined if the boreholes are not in the same plane.

The travel time and amplitude of the first arrival measured in a crosshole experiment can be used as input data in a tomographic analysis. Tomographic inversion has given detailed information about the extent of fracture zones in the plane spanned by the boreholes as well as a quantitative estimate of their electrical properties.

The radar method has been intensively tested at Stripa and has been shown to be an efficient instrument for locating and characterizing fracture zones. It is a unique instrument combining a resolution on the order of meters with probing ranges of about a hundred meters.