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Rick Miller
Kansas Geological Survey
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Geological Survey receives grant to advance underground-imaging techniques

Fri, 01/24/2014

LAWRENCE—The Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas has been awarded a $650,000 grant from the company XRI Geophysics to improve on technologies used to detect underground voids and faults, to determine the fitness of earthen dams and levees, and in other endeavors.

“With this funding we will continue to advance seismic-imaging technologies conceived and developed at the KGS since the late 1990s,” said Rick Miller, KGS senior scientist and geophysicist.

XRI, headquartered in Vicksburg, Miss., is a private geoscience company that provides services and support to industry and governmental entities for research and advancements related to near-surface geophysics, geology, hydrology and energy resources.

Geophysics researchers at the KGS study the physical properties of the earth, including its electrical, gravitational, magnetic, radioactive and seismic characteristics. The grant will fund further development of noninvasive, high-resolution seismic methods used to characterize rocks and structures in the shallow subsurface — down to about 300 feet deep.

Using seismic-characterization technologies, sound waves are created and measured as they travel through or around underground structures and sediments. Because sound waves travel through different rock types, sediments and fluids in distinct ways, the measurements can be used to interpret various rock conditions and properties.

Seismic characterization has a number of applications in engineering, construction, archeological studies, groundwater investigations, public safety and the identification of such hazards as abandoned mines, caves, fractures and voids that could lead to sinkholes.

Although seismic reflection has been used for several decades, commonly in oil and gas exploration, the KGS has made technological breakthroughs in the past 10 years that overcome limitations of traditional imaging tools used in the shallow subsurface.

“Our objective is to further improve operational efficiency, location and property measurement accuracy, and confidence as well as reduce false positive anomaly detections and allow for near real-time results,” Miller said.

The KGS researchers use a specially outfitted, self-contained vehicle that incorporates an active sound energy source, towed sensors, and a recording and analysis capability.



Jan. 22, 2015, was a historic day on the Hill: President Barack Obama visited the University of Kansas campus (http://bit.ly/POTUSatKU), the first sitting president to do so in a century. More than 7,000 people — including many students and faculty who had spent hours in line to get tickets for the event — packed inside KU’s Anschutz Sports Pavilion to hear the president speak. Welcomed by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little with “Barack Chalk, Jayhawk!” Obama told the gathering “I’m a Kansas guy,” because his mother was from Wichita and grandparents were from Augusta and El Dorado. In his 35-minute talk, the president discussed themes (see official White House transcript http://1.usa.gov/1yMWJqy) from his 2015 State of the Union address, including his goal to lower the cost of attending college.
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KU welcomes President Obama Jan. 22, 2015, was a historic day on the Hill: President Barack Obama visited the University of Kansas campus (http://bit.ly/POTUSatKU), the first sitting president to do so in a century. More than 7,000 people — including many students and faculty who had spent hours in line to get tickets for the event — packed inside KU’s Anschutz Sports Pavilion to hear the president speak. Welcomed by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little with “Barack Chalk, Jayhawk!” Obama told the gathering “I’m a Kansas guy,” because his mother was from Wichita and grandparents were from Augusta and El Dorado. In his 35-minute talk, the president discussed themes (see official White House transcript http://1.usa.gov/1yMWJqy) from his 2015 State of the Union address, including his goal to lower the cost of attending college.


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