3D polarimetric GPR coherency attributes and full-waveform inversion of transmission data for characterizing fractured rockGPR coherency and inversion Academic Article uri icon


  • Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) can detect and describe fractures to help us characterize fractured rock formations. A fracture alters the incident waveform, or wave shape, of a GPR signal through constructive and destructive interference, depending on the aperture, fill, and orientation of the fracture. Because the electromagnetic (EM) waves of GPR are vectorial, features exhibiting strong directionality can change the state of polarization of the incident field. GPR methods that focus on changes in waveform or polarization can improve detection and discrimination of fractures within rock bodies. An algorithm based on coherency, a seismic attribute that delineates discontinuities in wavelet shape, is developed for polarimetric GPR. It uses the largest eigenvalue of the time-domain scattering matrix when calculating coherence. This algorithm is sensitive to wave shape and is unbiased by the polarization of GPR antennas. Polarimetric coherency works better than scalar coherency in removing the effects of polarization on field data collected from a fractured limestone plot used for hydrologic experimentation. Another method, for time-domain full-waveform inversion of transmission data, quantitatively determines fracture aperture and EM properties of fill, based on a thin-layer model. Inversion results from field data show consistency with the location of fractures from reflection data. These two methods offer better fracture-detection capability and quantitative information on fracture aperture, dielectric permittivity, and electrical conductivity of the fill than traditional GPR imaging and scalar-coherency attributes. © 2009 Society of Exploration Geophysicists. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sassen, D. S., & Everett, M. E.

citation count

  • 42

publication date

  • May 2009