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Monitoring subsurface groundwater flow

Event organised by ICE

05 October 2023

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Subsurface water flow can lead to instability and, ultimately, failure of coal tips, landslides, and earthen dams, and it can also act as a significant pathway for contaminants. Geophysical surveys can play a crucial role in the investigation of such structures and phenomena, as minimally invasive techniques can provide an array of information regarding the strength, composition, and distribution of materials at a high spatial resolution. However, to accurately study seepages, a high temporal resolution dataset is often of significant use.

The Self-Potential method is a minimally invasive and low-cost geophysical surveying technique well used in academia to investigate groundwater flow in numerous settings including embankment seepages and groundwater contamination. TerraDat UK Ltd have developed SPiVolt, a system which monitors the Self-Potential field in near real-time. We will present a general overview of geophysics for the engineering sector before moving on to the results of two SPiVolt installations. The first showing seepage through the downstream shoulder of a Victorian-era embankment dam and the second showing how well a groundwater collection system is working to prevent flow through mine tailings.


Dr Jo Hamlyn

Dr Jo Hamlyn


Senior Geophysicist

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Dr Jo Hamlyn

Dr Jo Hamlyn is a Senior Geophysicist at TerraDat and the technical manager of SPiVolt. She has worked for TerraDat for the last 6 years following a teaching fellowship at Cardiff University delivering the geophysical and hydrogeology modules.