BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Airborne geophysics

Airborne geophysical workAirborne geophysical work Source: BGR

The title airborne geophysics summarises all geophysical methods, that might be applied on fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, zeppelins or balloons. Herein, the spectrum of geophysical applications is a wide field. One of the first methods used on fixed wing aircraft is airborne magnetics (or aeromagnetics). Its application allows after some reductions and corrections to determine the magnetic field of the earth's crust.

In close relation to aeromagnetics we find airborne electromagnetics, which may be used from a helicopter or a fixed wing aircraft. They are used to map the electric conductivity of the near subsurface. From that, acquifers, coal seams or salt domes might be detected.

Apart from this method, special airborne radar methods have been developed to measure the thickness of large ice sheets and their interior structure or caverneous structures in soil.

In the past years, encouraging developments were performed in setting up airborne gravimetry. These instruments are used to measure the variations of the earth's gravity field and thus to get important data to model the earth's crustal structure.

Last but not least, airborne radiometry is very useful tool to detect the natural radioactive radiation from surface soil.

The application of airborne geophysics within BGR focusses on helicopter borne missions (BGR helicopter Sikorsky S 76-B) and other small helicopters or fixed wing aircraft leased or operated in cooperation with external partners. All methods described so far find their apllication within BGR surveys. Such operation might be performed in Germany or Europe but also in developing countries or the polar areas.


Dr. Uwe Meyer
Phone: +49-(0)511-643-3212
Fax: +49-(0)511-643-3662

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