Thursday, December 18, 2014 AGS Luncheon

"Detecting Oil In and Under Ice and Snow: Ground Penetrating Radar Theory and Applications"

Noon Luncheon 11:30-1:00 pm


Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a useful tool for detecting spilled oil in and under ice and snow.  Here, I outline some of the theory underlying the physics of GPR and explain how that theory is relevant to oil detection problems.  Two different models and four data examples demonstrate the efficacy of GPR in the Arctic environment but also illustrate limitations that radar investigation of oil spills may encounter. Finally, I present a unique dual-polarization radar system designed to mitigate uncertainty caused by preferential attenuation of radar waves due to anisotropy in the conductivity structure of sea ice.


Esther Babcock Ph. D Boise
Geotek Alaska

Dr. Babcock received her Bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a focus on theoretical math and a minor in French from the United States Air Force Academy in 2002.  She subsequently served as a commissioned officer and pilot in the U.S. Air Force, including flying 62 combat missions in the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.  After separating from the Air Force, Dr. Babcock completed her Master’s degree in environmental science at the University of Arizona and her doctorate in geophysics at Boise State University.  She has participated in field campaigns in Africa, the Canadian Arctic, and most recently Hawaii.  She currently lives with her husband in Eagle River.

Back to Luncheons Page