Assessment of applying VLF geophysical method to determine the peat deposit thickness

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Peat deposits accumulate large reserves of carbon and play an important role in formation of global
climate, biosphere, and hydrological conditions. High degree of knowledge of peat reserves is one of the prerequisites for scientifically based and economically viable wetland management. For economically efficient commercial activity, an enterprise developing a peat deposit must be confident in the availability of sufficient and high quality commercial peat reserves. Therefore, the topic of studying the thickness of peat deposits is quite relevant. The paper analyzes the experience of using the geophysical method called VLF ("very low frequency") to study the thickness of peat deposits. The method consisted of using a VLF receiver to measure the properties of VLF emitted by the peat deposit and the underlying mineral ground. The study was carried out at the Beloe Lake peat deposit in the Tukayevsky district of Tatarstan, at three peat areas of different depths: deep-lying (over 3 m), intermediate (1.5 – 3 m), and shallow (up to 1.5 m). The depth was confirmed by direct measurements in the wells. Low-frequency (VLF) measurements were carried out along the geophysical paths at each area of the peat deposit. The data were processed using the NAMEMD (Noise Empirical Decomposition) method and converted to resistivity and depth values using the specialized software. The study showed that the resistivity differs significantly between the areas of deep-lying and shallow peat. The resistivity varies depending on the peat thickness and the thickness of the buried wood horizons. In the horizons of deep-lying peat, the resistivity is strongly influenced by the degree of peat decomposition, its natural density and moisture. The presence of peaks and their height on the data interpretation plots characterizes the number and thickness of the horizons of buried wood in the peat deposit. With increasing depth of peat occurrence, the resistivity increases significantly. However, in the shallow areas, it does not show differences, being characteristic for the deep-lying peat area. This proves that the VLF method works correctly in peat layers and is capable to indicate the peat thickness, the number and thickness of the buried wood horizons.

About the Authors

T. B. Yakonovskaya
Tver State Technical University
Russian Federation

A. I. Zhigulskaya
Tver State Technical University
Russian Federation

P. A. Yakonovsky
TGT Oil and Gas Services
Russian Federation


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For citation: Yakonovskaya T.B., Zhigulskaya A.I., Yakonovsky P.A. Assessment of applying VLF geophysical method to determine the peat deposit thickness. Gornye nauki i tekhnologii = Mining Science and Technology (Russia). 2020;5(3):224-234.

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