Current methods for characterising subsurface
geological features involve the use of explosive charges and the
subsequent recording of seismic effects. This project was aimed
at developing new tomography software for processing data acquired
from small-scale seismic surveys carried out in hard rock conditions
in zinc-lead mines and in rock caverns used for nuclear waste storage.
Exceptionally high resolution was achieved
allowing interpretation with a high level of confidence. The new
software generates visual displays by bringing together more information
than other techniques, meaning a greater chance of detecting minerals
or subsurface holes, joints and faults.
Small-scale surveying can help in optimising
mining planes, say partners, raising productivity. In civil engineering
it can help tunnel builders to avoid rock masses or sand lenses.
For authorities storing nuclear waste, high-resolution small-scale
surveys can identify caverns which offer the greatest security.
Based on the work carried out in this
and other Brite Euram projects, a new data acquisition system, including
both hardware and software, has now been launched for use in a number
of softer rock environments.