Identification of Karstic Features in Lateritic Soil by an Integrated Geophysical Approach

P. Anbazhagan, Divyesh Rohit, Athul Prabhakaran, B. Vidyaranya

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Lateritic soils are widely spread across the southern and central parts of India. Lateritic formations usually have soft sediments, entrapped between hard to medium soft lateritic rock, which are leached due to the ingress of water during rainy seasons creating hollow sections or cavities which span over large lengths. Laterites are highly heterogeneous and prone to cavitation due to its weathering process; a sound knowledge of the subsurface condition is required before starting any construction. This study presents the application of integrated geophysical investigation for the identification of cavities at a mega construction site in Kerala State, India. Geophysical survey methods, namely ground penetrating radar (GPR) and multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASWs) techniques, are used to identify the heterogeneities in lateritic soils and localized cavities. The survey areas identified are critical sections of a mega construction project subjected to heavy dynamic and static loads. The preliminary GPR survey is carried out across the study areas at specific interval spacing to identify probable heterogeneities. Confirmative survey or detailed GPR and MASW surveys are carried out at the locations identified in the preliminary survey at close intervals to confirm the presence of an anomaly and identify its location. The anomalies in the GPR radargram are identified by visual inspection and trace amplitude approach. Using MASW survey, a 2D shear wave velocity profile is generated to identify low shear wave velocity zones which confirm the presence of an anomaly. On comparing the data from both GPR and MASW survey techniques, the underground cavities were successfully identified at multiple locations with further crosschecking with borings. The study further provided details on subsurface lithology at survey locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4515-4536
Number of pages22
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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