Locating Drainage Systems by Magnetometer Surveys

by Lon C. Ruedisili, Assoc. Prof. of Geology; Dept. of Geology, Univ. of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio,
Stewart M. Logan, Hydrogeologist; Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, Div. of Water, Indianapolis, Ind.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 3, Pg. 261-273

Document Type: Journal Paper


The feasibility of using a portable, proton precession, ground magnetometer in the location of subsurface drainage systems is analyzed. Seasonal (fall, winter and spring) surveys of a field drained by clay tile and plastic (PVC)pipe and of a specially constructed test plot on agricultural land are presented. Magnetic anomalies over the drainage lines resulting from the contrast contract between the drain material, the void in the drain and the surrounding soil are identified. This magnetic contrast is not affected by the different seasons or the moisture content of the soils. Developed methodology for magnetic location of drains shows this technique is inexpensive after the initial machine purchase, it is relatively quick, it can be used with or without crop cover, it can be used in any season other than winter, it requires only minimum manpower and limited technical skills by the magnetometer operator and data interpreter.

Subject Headings: Drainage systems | Magnetic fields | Geomatic surveys | Subsurface drainage | System analysis | Winter | Land surveys | Soil water

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