A pilot study into the feasibility of using ground penetrating radar to determine water table depth in peatland ecosystems
A test-case ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey was carried out on the upland peat site on the RSPB Lake Vyrnwy Reserve in the Berwyn Special Area of Conservation (SAC), North Wales (www) in order to determine whether the depth of the water table was identifiable in the reflected radar signal using a the Pulse EKKO 1000 GPR system. A preliminary investigation was carried out to decide upon the frequency to be used. Following this two fixed-offset transects were surveyed in a saturated region of the peatland. Peat soil and water table depth measurements were taken at several points along transects and the depth of the soil horizons noted. GPR failed to detect the water table so close to the surface but the contact between the organic and clay-rich soils was identifiable. GPR may thus prove more useful for estimating soil parameters such as bulk density than for estimating water table depth.
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