Seeing beyond the outcrop: Integration of ground-penetrating radar with digital outcrop models of a paleokarst system
Paleokarst breccias are a common feature of sedimentary rift basins. The Billefjorden Trough in the High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is an example of such a rift. Here the Carboniferous stratigraphy exhibits intervals of paleokarst breccias formed by gypsum dissolution. In this study we integrate digital outcrop models (DOMs) with a 2D ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey to extrapolate external irregular paleokarst geometries beyond the 2D outcrops. DOMs are obtained through combining a series of overlapping photographs with structure-from-motion photogrammetry, to create mm- to dm-resolution georeferenced DOMs. GPR is typically used for surveying the shallow subsurface and relies on detecting the contrasts in electro-magnetic permittivity. We defined three geophysical facies based on their appearance in GPR. By integrating subsurface geophysical data with DOMs we were able to correlate reflection patterns in GPR with outcrop features. The chaotic nature of paleokarst breccias is seen both in outcrop and GPR. Key horizons in outcrop and the GPR profiles allow tying together observations between these methods. Furthermore, we show that this technique expands the two-dimensional outcrop surface into a three-dimensional domain, thus complementing, strengthening and extending outcrop interpretations.