3D ground-penetrating radar imaging of ice complex deposits in northern East Siberia

Schennen S., Tronicke J., Wetterich S., Allroggen N., Schwamborn G. J., Schirrmeister L.

GEOPHYSICS, vol.81, no.1, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 81 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1190/geo2015-0129.1
  • Journal Name: GEOPHYSICS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Ice complex deposits are characteristic, ice-rich formations in northern East Siberia and represent an important part in the arctic carbon pool. Recently, these late Quaternary deposits are the objective of numerous investigations typically relying on outcrop and borehole data. Many of these studies can benefit from a 3D structural model of the subsurface for upscaling their observations or for constraining estimations of inventories, such as the local carbon stock. We have addressed this problem of structural imaging by 3D ground-penetrating radar (GPR), which, in permafrost studies, has been primarily used for 2D profiling. We have used a 3D kinematic GPR surveying strategy at a field site located in the New Siberian Archipelago on top of an ice complex. After applying a 3D GPR processing sequence, we were able to trace two horizons at depths below 20 m. Taking available borehole and outcrop data into account, we have interpreted these two features as interfaces of major lithologic units and derived a 3D cryostratigraphic model of the subsurface. Our data example demonstrated that a 3D surveying and processing strategy was crucial at our field site and showed the potential of 3D GPR to image geologic structures in complex ice-rich permafrost landscapes.