Geophysical Infrastructure Studies: Earthen Dams and Abandoned Mine Lands

Science Center Objects

Geophysical Infrastructure Studies is comprised of a series of applied research projects focused on studying site-specific problems at earthen dams and abandoned mine lands. An appropriate suite of geophysical methods are chosen for each project and its particular goals and geologic environment. These projects are funded by the federal agencies in charge of the risk mitigation, assessment, or remediation at these sites.

Abandoned Mine Lands

mine site

Brooklyn Mine, Colorado. View includes historical buildings.

(Credit: Beth Burton, USGS. Public domain.)

Brooklyn Mine Superfund Site, Bonita Peak Mining District, Silverton, Colorado

The USGS and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sacramento District collaborated on a pilot study at Brooklyn Mine, situated on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land, to demonstrate the utility of selected ground-based geophysical methods to aid in characterizing abandoned mine lands (AML). This information will be used to inform remediation design strategies by USFS and to help prioritize strategies for other AML sites. 

This project was funded by the USACE Albuquerque District Restoration of Abandoned Mine Sites (RAMS) Program. 

Learn more about our work at Brooklyn Mine.

Earthen Dams

Success Dam, Lake Success, Porterville, California

This study is in support of construction of a new spillway weir to increase storage capacity of Lake Success by 10 ft. The objective is to identify depth to competent bedrock with compressional- (P-) wave seismic refraction for weir design and exploratory borehole location purposes. The field campaign was conducted in December 2018.

Learn more about our work at Success Dam.

dam, spillway, and lake in background

Panoramic view to the southeast of the Success Dam spillway (foreground) and of Success Dam and Lake Success (background), California.

(Credit: Beth Burton, USGS. Public domain.)

geophysical equipment near dam spillway

Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) equipment deployed parallel to the downstream toe of the Jim Woodruff fixed-crest spillway, FL. View is to the east.

(Credit: Beth Burton, USGS. Public domain.)

Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam, Lake Seminole, Sneads, Florida

The goal of this survey is to use complementary geophysical methods to determine if we can image karst features and potential groundwater pathways. The field campaign was completed in March 2018.

Learn about our work at Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam.


Return to Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center