Geophysical investigation of the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion site at Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
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A near-surface geophysical survey at the D-Day invasion site on top of the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France, was carried out using ground-penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction and magnetic gradiometry equipment. The subsurface targets of investigation are predominantly buried concrete and steel structures and earthworks associated with the German coastal fortifications at this strongpoint of Adolf Hitler's Atlantic Wall. The targets are readily detectable, embedded within the vadose zone of a weakly magnetic, electrically resistive, loess soil cover. The radar and electromagnetic induction responses lend themselves to plan-view imaging of the subsurface, while the magnetics data reveal the presence of buried magnetic bodies in a more subtle fashion. Several intriguing geophysical signatures were discovered, including what may be the buried remains of a railway turntable, ordnance fragments in the bomb craters, a buried steel-reinforced concrete trench, and a linear chain of machine-gun firing positions. Geophysical prospecting is shown to be a very powerful tool for historical battlefield site characterization. 2006 European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers.