The top 0–50 m of the subsurface are critical for infrastructure, water supply, artificial infiltration, farming, waste deposits, construction, etc. Yet, the tools for imaging this zone are limited to boreholes or geophysical methods such as electrical resistivity imagining (ERT) with a limited applicability for area-covering surveys larger than a few hectares. We present a new highly efficient towed transient electromagnetic system, tTEM, which bridges the gap in coverage and resolution between point or line measurements and airborne electromagnetics. The system yields images in full 3D with a lateral resolution down to 10 × 10 m. The system is towed by and All-Terrain Vehicle, uses a 2 × 4 m2 transmitter coil and has a z-component receiver 9 m offset from the transmitter. The first bias-free gate is as early as 4 µs from ramp beginning (1.4 µs after ramp-end). The turn-off time is 2.6 µs. Data are processed and inverted using methods directly adopted from airborne electromagnetics. We discuss the system design and present a case study where the system has been used to map complex subsurface geology in large detail to build 3D geological/hydrogeological models.


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