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Radar for Geophysics

The general scope of geophysics is about the physics of the earth [1]. In the majority of cases, a geophysicist investigates the interior of the earth by means of a wide range of sensors in order to extract geological structures and/or to monitor geological processes and conditions. The field of applications covers a wide range, e.g.

  • the search for crude materials and mineral resources
  • the monitoring of environmental conservation activities
  • ground analysis in the forefront of building and construction projects
  • surveying of archeological relics
  • the determination of the thickness of glaciers and soils
  • the surveillance of natural hazards
  • the exploration of the deep interior of the earth

Obviously, the penetration of (dielectric) material is a main aspect of geophysical investigations and analysis. Among numerous technologies which are used for this purpose, the exploitation of electromagnetic radiation is a considerable tool [2]. Radar systems illuminate the ground with electromagnetic waves, receive the refracted, diffracted and scattered echoes and analyze them with respect to the imposed information of the scenario. Thus, ground penetrating Radar (GPR) systems are a well established tool within the field of geophysics.

By the way, the basic know-how of up-to-date Radar imaging and feature extraction algorithms have its origin in the late sixties in the field of geophysics.

First solutions of the inverse problem to gather information about the scenario and to perform a back projection were basically developed at that time by geophysicists. Their objective was the reconstruction of different layers within the deep earth by means of the received Radar data.