Sensitivity of multi-coil frequency domain electromagnetic induction sensors to map soil magnetic susceptibility.
Magnetic susceptibility is an important indicator of anthropogenic disturbance in the natural soil. This property is often mapped with magnetic gradiometers in archaeological prospection studies. It is also detected with frequency domain electromagnetic induction (FDEM) sensors, which have the advantage that they can simultaneously measure the electrical conductivity. The detection level of FDEM sensors for magnetic structures is very dependent on the coil configuration. Apart from theoretical modelling studies, a thorough investigation with field models has not been conducted until now. Therefore, the goal of this study was to test multiple coil configurations on a test field with naturally enhanced magnetic susceptibility in the topsoil and with different types of structures mimicking real archaeological features. Two FDEM sensors were used with coil separations between 0.5 and 2 m and with three coil orientations. First, a vertical sounding was conducted over the undisturbed soil to test the validity of a theoretical layered model, which can be used to infer the depth sensitivity of the coil configurations. The modelled sounding values corresponded well with the measured data, which means that the theoretical models are applicable to layered soils. Second, magnetic structures were buried in the site and the resulting anomalies measured to a very high resolution. The results showed remarkable differences in amplitude and complexity between the responses of the coil configurations. The 2-m horizontal coplanar and 1.1-m perpendicular coil configurations produced the clearest anomalies and resembled best a gradiometer measurement.
Simpson, D.; Meirvenne, M., van; Lück, E.; Rühlmann, J. ; Bourgeois, T.S. 2010. Sensitivity of multi-coil frequency domain electromagnetic induction sensors to map soil magnetic susceptibility. European Journal of Soil Science 61, 469-478.