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Proceedings Paper

Locating a subsurface oil leak using ground penetrating radar
Author(s): Martin Lawrence King
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Paper Abstract

An underground high voltage cable, in which pressurized mineral oil is used as an insulating medium, was known to be leaking oil at one or more locations along its 2.5 kilometer length. It was impractical and even dangerous for the most part to dig along the cable route in an attempt to find the location of this leak or leaks. It was known that a significant quantity of mineral insulating oil had left the cable and entered the soil at the site of the leak. It was decided to trial ground penetrating radar by scanning along and over the buried cable to attempt to pinpoint the site of the oil leak. Soil dielectric properties are largely determined by the moisture content so that where moisture is displaced by oil the soil dielectric properties will change. Soil stratigraphy seen using radar is due to a large extent to the variable moisture content in the layering of the soil. Where oil is dispersed through the soil, it will tend to displace moisture. This dielectric property change makes the area sufficiently anomalous so that it can be detected utilizing ground penetrating radar. This principle has now been successfully used on a number of occasions in New Zealand.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 2000
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 4084, Eighth International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar, (27 April 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.383590
Show Author Affiliations
Martin Lawrence King, GPR Geotechnical Services (New Zealand)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4084:
Eighth International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar
David A. Noon; Glen F. Stickley; Dennis Longstaff, Editor(s)

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