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Three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging for groundwater

Abstract : The surface nuclear magnetic resonance method (SNMR) is an established geophysical tool routinely used for investigating one-dimensional (1D) and sometimes 2D subsurface water-saturated formations. We have expanded the tool by developing a 3D application. 3D-SNMR is a large-scale method that allows magnetic resonance imaging of groundwater down to about 80 m. Similar to most surface geophysical methods, 3D-SNMR has limited resolution, but it is effective for investigating water-saturated geological formations larger than several tens of meters. Because the performance of the method depends on variable survey conditions, we cannot estimate it in general. For demonstration purposes, we present an example of numerical modeling under fixed conditions. Results show that under certain conditions it is possible to detect a water volume as small as 500 m(3) and the detection threshold depends on the ambient electromagnetic noise magnitude and on the location of the target volume relative to the SNMR loops. The 3D-SNMR method was used to investigate accumulated water within the Tete Rousse glacier (French Alps). Inversion of the field measurements made it possible to locate the principal reservoir in the central part of the glacier and estimate the volume of accumulated water. These results were verified by 20 boreholes installed after the 3D-SNMR results were obtained and by pumping water out of the glacier. Very good correspondence between the 3D-SNMR and borehole results was observed.
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A. Legchenko, M. Descloitres, C. Vincent, H. Guyard, S. Garambois, et al.. Three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging for groundwater. New Journal of Physics, Institute of Physics: Open Access Journals, 2011, 13, pp.025022. ⟨10.1088/1367-2630/13/2/025022⟩. ⟨insu-00604977⟩

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