Dam and Embankment Investigations
HGI has extensive experience in applying a variety of geophysical methods for Dam and Embankment Investigations. A number of geophysical measurements are highly sensitive and can provide forewarning to potential issues related to concrete dam surrounds, earthen dams, and embankments.
Using geophysics for earthen dam and embankment investigations has the distinct advantage of imaging through an entire earthen structure to understand structural integrity, seepage, and core strength.
Every earthen containment system (dam, levee, or impoundment) is unique in design, construction, and use, and these properties present challenges in assessing reliability. Getting a holistic view of the structure in the context of its design and construction is the ultimate goal of understanding its integrity. The use of geophysical characterization methods offers this complete view by using electrical resistivity profiling and streaming potential (SP) for example to create an internal picture of these complex structures.
HGI’s methods provide high resolution, continuous cross-sections for dam and embankment investigations to assess the health of these retaining structures and identify potential issues before they become problems.
The electrical resistivity method is particularly sensitive to moisture content, saturation of subsurface materials, and especially the movement of fluids through structures. These surveys can be used as a complementary tool to normal monitoring methods, such as piezometers and visual inspections, by filling in the gaps between measurement locations, expanding the monitoring coverage, and/or detecting issues before they become apparent on the surface. In addition, the electrical resistivity method can be used to characterize and assess the construction materials within earthen dams and embankments, survey the underlying geology, and identify potential geohazards such as faults and fracture zones.