Geophysical investigation of tailings dams – the TAILSAFE challenge
Ernst Niederleithinger, Sabine Kruschwitz, Tina Martin and Christiane Trela

One of the main problems in the assessment of the operability, stability and contamination potential of tailings facilities is the lack of data on subsurface materials, properties and structures. One key task in the use of geophysics is the selection of the proper methods for a given site/problem combination. Interpretation of the acquired and processed physical data (e.g. electrical resistivity distribution) into something useful for site assessment (e.g. contamination distribution) is another. In the TAILSAFE project (funded by the European Commission) we have worked with partners on the use of geophysics for tailings facilities inspection. DC and complex resistivity, ground penetrating radar, and spectral analysis of surface waves and multichannel analysis of surface waves have been used on dams and beaches. In most cases, our methods provided useful information on the subsurface 
structure, but the translation of geophysical values into geotechnical or other parameters is still challenging.

Key words: geophysics, geoelectrics, ground penetrating radar, spectral analysis of surface waves, tailings

Land Contamination & Reclamation, 15 (2), 157-162 (2007)

DOI: 10.2462/09670513.850

© 2007 EPP Publications Ltd

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