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Ice and Snow

Snow and ice covered areas were the birthplace environments for GPR use.

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Snow and ice covered areas were the birthplace environments for GPR use. Snow and ice are very transparent to GPR signals. Common applications include snow depth monitoring for ski slope management, ice thickness for winter road safety, the location of avalanche victims, glaciological and polar ice-cap research.

Glaciology and Ice Sheets
Snow Management
Ice Thickness

Glaciology and Ice Sheets

Glaciers and ice-sheets are excellent environments for GPR. Growing interest in climate change has accelerated the use of GPR. Applications have included characterizing the volume of ice, examining the ice structure to understand the paleo-climate and help plan the use of this valuable supply of freshwater.

  • professional_iceNsnow1Glaciology
  • professional_iceNsnow2 Objects in Ice

Snow Management

Snow thickness is a critical component of managing ski slopes. Knowing when to make or move snow has major cost implications. Daily mapping of snow thickness with SnowScan HandHeld and Groomer-Mounted Configurations enable ski resorts to easily manage grooming and snow-making operations.

Snow pack represents a valuable water reservoir and its thickness is required for hydrogeology forecasting. SnowScan GPR readily maps snow thicknesses and use of the GPR wave velocity provides snow-to-water content conversion factors.

Locating buried avalanche victims is another area of GPR use. Rescue Radar is designed specifically to help rescue teams quickly locate buried survivors.

  • professional_iceNsnow3Checking Cross-country Trails at Resorts
  • professional_iceNsnow4 Avalanche Prediction Monitoring
  • professional_iceNsnow5Evaluating Ski Slopes at Resorts
  • Snow-Detect-movement-of-buried-victimsDetecting Movement of AvalancheVictims
  • Snow-Water-contentWater Content in Snow

Ice Thickness

In Alaska and Northern Canada, ice roads and runways are regularly used to transport people, goods and equipment to isolated communities, exploration camps or mine sites. IceMap GPR systems provide a rapid means of regularly checking ice thickness conditions. GPS positioned field data enable creation of ice thickness maps and time-lapse views.

  • Ice-Arctic-oil-explorationArctic Oil Exploration
  • Ice-Roads Ice Roads

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Case Studies

Glacier Girl | Snow and Ice Scanning

In 1942, a squadron of aircraft were being ferried from the USA to England as part of the lend-lease of military equipment in WW II. The path would take the aircraft from Maine to Labrador to Greenland then Iceland and finally to Scotland. Weather and enemy tactics resulted in the squadron being forced to crash land on the Greenland ice sheet on July 15. While all crews (25 members in total) were safely rescued, the abandoned aircraft were swallowed up by the snow and ice in no time.

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