Services

The Work We Do

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) uses radio-frequency energy from an on-board antenna to “image” geologic features, voids, utilities and other anomalies buried underground from just below the surface up to 40 meters (130 feet) deep, depending on the rock type and moisture content. It can be used for a variety of purposes including:

  • Sinkhole Detection (prior to breaching the surface) – Sinkholes form not only in natural karst environments like that found in eastern and southeastern New Mexico in the gypsum plains and other areas of New Mexico where limestone is present, but also in highly engineered areas like our streets and neighborhoods. When a water main leaks or breaks, it starts to wash away the soil around it, which eventually forms a void around the broken pipe. When this void gets big enough, it can breach the surface swallowing people, cars and even buildings. In very rare cases, entire city blocks have been swallowed by sinkholes!
  • Utilities Location – Many times utilities are difficult to find. Original locations or maps have been misplaced or lost, abandoned utility lines are often mislocated or not even known about and when the locations are known, many times there are more than just one set of pipes or cables which can cause undue confusion when a utility is breached just next to where another one was known. Damage to utilities can be very expensive, especially when gas, power, water or sewer lines are breached by heavy equipment. The time and cost associated with repairing damaged utilities can set a project back weeks and tens of thousands of dollars.

Southwest Geophysical currently uses a GSSI 350 MHz Utility Scan Pro antenna and SIR-4000 processor to detect voids, locate utilities, and do other types of locates up to 5 meters beneath the surface.

Everything from sprinkler system lines to gas lines have been broken by people digging in the wrong place. In the case of sprinkler lines it meant only a day lost on the project and a couple of dollars to replace the parts, plus some aggravation.
With the gas line, this company was fined, the backhoe was a total loss and the neighborhood surrounding the accident had to be evacuated. In this case, it is obvious where the gas line is, you can see it just to the left of the backhoe, but in many cases, a GPR can save the day!
  • Archeology and Law Enforcement – GPR is perfect for locating ancient, buried man-made structures, burial mounds, unmarked graves and other man-made “anomalies”.
  • Environmental Remediation – Ground Penetrating Radar can define the edges of old septic pits, locate buried fuel and hazardous waste drums, delineate the extent of abandoned or active waste disposal sites (dumps) and in some cases determine the locations of old mine shafts and adits.

Resistivity Studies use a battery and four or more electrodes to send an electric current through the earth between the electrodes. The current is then measured using an ammeter and the resistivity (the resistance of the rock or item being measured to the flow of the electric current) of the structure that the current passed through is determined. Different rock types, fresh water and salt water, voids and solid rock all have different resistivities which can be used to determine what is below the Earth’s surface at the location being measured. This method can be used to find caves, newly forming sinkholes, depth to the water table, ore bodies and any other structure or item that has a resistivity that is different from that of the surrounding bedrock or soil.

resistivity

Seismic Studies

Coming Soon…

seismic-studies

Infrared (IR) Imaging uses specially designed cameras that pick up light waves in the infrared spectrum, just below the visible light that we can see with our eyes. Infrared is a form of energy that is mainly associated with radiated heat. Using an IR camera, areas of differential heat and cold can easily be located, for instance, in the winter if your house is not well insulated, an IR camera can pick up the location or locations that are emitting the most heat. With this information in hand, you can easily fix the leak with insulation, caulking or by replacing the drafty window. This will save you money on your energy bills as well as protect the environment through less energy usage. IR cameras can also be used to locate malfunctioning equipment, find hidden rodent nests within your walls and anything else you can think of where there is a difference between hotter or colder.

Image of a area where a dog had been sitting five minutes prior. Notice that you can even see where the tail was!
Infrared image of a cave entrance in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico. The bright red and pink in the lower right of the image is the caving gear that had just been taken off by a caver.
Karst and Cave Survey. Bureau of Land Management Approved Vendor! Locating and mapping surface karst features on private, state, and federal lands for industry in the Delaware Basin of southeastern New Mexico prior to development. We have 8 years of karst and cave survey experience in the gypsum karst of the Delaware Basin and over 30 years experience in karst and cave mapping in the Southwest.