SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1999

Selecting Surface Geophysical Methods for Geological, Hydrological, Geotechnical, and Environmental Investigations: The Rationale for the ASTM Provisional Guide


The ASTM Provisional Guide (PS 78–97) for Selecting Surface Geophysical Methods was developed as a guide for project managers, contractors, geologists, and geophysicists to assist in selecting the most likely geophysical method or methods to conduct specific subsurface investigations. Numerous surface geophysical methods and techniques exist that can be used to determine subsurface soil and rock properties and their distribution. These same methods are also widely used to investigate and locate manmade structures such as buried objects and landfills. This paper discusses the general uses of surface geophysics and the use of the provisional guide. This paper is not intended to be used as the guide.

The ASTM Provisional Guide provides direction in selecting the most appropriate geophysical method or methods for a specific application under general site conditions. Secondary methods are also proposed that, under certain circumstances, should be evaluated before a final selection is made. Some typical conditions under which a primary or secondary method might or might not provide satisfactory results are given in the provisional guide. References for further information about selected methods and to method-specific ASTM guides are also provided. Secondary methods usually have less than desired performance, higher cost, or greater labor requirements as compared to the primary methods.

Author Information

Saunders, W
SAIC, Reston, VA
Benson, R
Technos, Inc., Miami, FL
Snelgrove, F
Geonics Limited, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Soloyanis, S
Mitretek Systems, Cascade, CO
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 392–403
DOI: 10.1520/STP14236S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5405-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2604-6