Item: Ground penetrating radar location of buried avalanche victims
Title: Ground penetrating radar location of buried avalanche victims
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2004 International Snow Science Workshop, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Authors: Justin Modroo and Gary R. Olhoeft, jmodroo @ mines.edu - golhoeft @ mines.edu, Colorado School of Mines - Department of Geophysics, 1500 Illinois St., Golden, CO 80401
Abstract: The best way to survive being buried alive in an avalanche is with the use of requisite signal Iocator tools such as a personal transceiver or a RECCO reflector. If a person is buried without this equipment, search and rescue crews are limited to using rescue dogs or a probe line to locate the victim. Most of these methods have problems, including the RECCO system. Because of these problems, some victims are not recovered until the spring thaw. It is obvious that a better rescue/recovery method is needed. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is an electromagnetic geophysical tool used extensively to image and characterize the subsurface. GPR could be applied as an imaging tool to locate and rescue/recover a buried avalanche victim. An avalanche burial simulation test was conducted at the Loveland Ski Area, CO. The test provided time lapse GPR reflection data for a buried human body mass equivalent (BME) as the core temperature dropped from 38°C to 0°C in 110 hours. The test also produced GPR reflection signatures of natural and man-made objects associated with avalanche debris. By comparing GPR wavelet traces of each target, the GPR data were used to distinguish between the BME, man-made objects, and natural objects. The experiment also proved that a 900 MHz antenna can uniquely identify a buried avalanche victim once a 2 cm air pocket has melted around the body. This experiment proved that GPR can be used to image and locate a buried avalanche victim. Hopefully in the future, this technology will be able to save human lives.
Keywords: ground penetrating radar (gpr), rescue, avalanche, imaging, location, recovery
Digital Abstract Not Available