Ice & Snow Inspection 

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) works exceptionally well in ice and snow, as the properties of these materials allow deep penetration of the GPR signal. Consequently, GPR is a useful tool to measure the depth of ice and snow, the thickness and layer structure, and to find objects buried within.

Typical areas of use for GPR include:

• Study of glaciers

• Ice thickness measurements

• Snow management

• Buried object detection

GPR is very suitable for measurements through the ice and snow, as the signal can penetrate to a depth of many tens of meters and often several hundred meters. Therefore, GPR can be used to investigate the depth of cover, determine thickness and volume, as well as observe changes in the internal structure. GPR can also easily detect objects buried within the ice and snow.

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Why is knowing the thickness of ice or snow important?

  • To understand the status of the polar ice-caps as part of polar research
  • Helps in our understanding of critical changes in the climate
  • To determine safe routes of passage for people and machinery on ice crossings
  • To assist hydrogeologist in calculating fresh-water melt to predict and mitigate flooding
  • To ensure the safety of winter ice roads or runways
  • To assist in avalanche prediction and monitoring
  • To evaluate snow thickness, quality, and movement for the proper management of ski slopes and ski resorts
  • Finding the victims of avalanches
  • Assisting in the recovering of buried objects such as planes or other items of historical importance

Snow Measurements with GPR for Hydrological Studies

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