Radar Probing of Groundwater in Hyper-Arid Environments: Understanding Aquifer Dynamics in High Discharge Areas
Desert countries face serious water shortages in an increasingly thirsty world. Groundwater systems are a critical source of water and important regional resource. In Morocco and Oman, the distribution and dynamics of these fossil aquifers is little known because current knowledge relies on measurements from local wells that are sparsely distributed and cover only a small percentage of the desert area. An international research team, led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is using radar sounding technology developed to explore the subsurface of Mars to locate and map desert aquifers in Morocco and Oman.
Using an airborne 40-mHz, low-frequency sounding radar prototype, the research team is creating high-resolution maps of freshwater aquifers buried deep beneath deserts in both countries. This is the first use of airborne sounding radar for aquifer mapping. While the research will better locate and map desert aquifers in Morocco and Oman, it will also help scientists better understand current and past hydrological conditions in Earth's deserts, and assess how climate change is impacting them.
Research Results and Progress Reports
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