Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Carpenter, Philip J.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geology


Argonne National Laboratory; Geophysics--Illinois; Fills (Earthwork)--Illinois


Geophysical techniques were employed in this investigation to distinguish between leachate and shallow buried metal objects, to determine refuse character and thicknesses within the 800 Area landfill at Argonne National Laboratory. Resistivity soundings, electromagnetic (EM) and magnetic profiles were completed across the northern portion of the landfill between 1990 and 1993 to achieve these goals. Resistivity soundings were inverted for layered earth models consisting of three or four layers. The upper moderate-resistivity layer (19-66 ohm-m), approximately 4-6 ft (1-2 m) thick, represents unsaturated fill (this upper layer actually comprised two layers in some cases). This is underlain by a lowresistivity layer (5-10 ohm-m) approximately 8-35 ft (3-12 m) thick representing leachate saturated fill. The bottom layer (20-90 ohm-m) represents the underlying glacial till. Seeps on the landfill near soundings 1 and 2 suggest high leachate levels. Subsequent EM and magnetic profiles identified areas of high conductivity caused by metal debris or accumulations of leachate across the northern portion of the landfill. Closure data and leachate wells installed in 1995 confirmed geophysical refuse thickness estimates and the presence of metallic debris. Elevated leachate levels, however, were not present in the leachate wells at that time. Important characteristics of the landfill that were assessed by this geophysical study include refuse thickness, identification of areas containing buried metals and shallow leachate, and possible variations in leachate levels. Each of these assessed characteristics is useful in fulfilling specific needs. Refuse thickness estimates aid in monitoring well screen placement. Determining the location of buried metals is important in locating a French drain buried in the landfill, which was used for liquid waste disposal. Finally, leachate levels must be monitored to properly manage the landfill’s water balance. Geophysics provides a quick, noninvasive method of assessing these hydrologic and waste characteristics.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [108]-111)


ix, 132 pages




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