In the old days, people used to rely on a y-shaped stick called a dowsing rod to detect underground water. However, you would not want to rely on magic when well drillers are paid for every foot they drill, regardless of whether or not they find water. Thankfully there are more reliable and scientific methods available to us today. Water surveyors use seismographic surveying equipment to detect underground reservoirs of water before bringing in the drillers. This can save individuals hundreds to thousands of dollars and prevents them from having to hire a guy with a stick to find their water.
Water surveyors use two devices when searching for water. The first and most important piece is a portable seismoelectric survey instrument. This instrument detects sound pulses from a seismic source. The “seismic source” can be anything that generates a seismic wave, such as a specialized hammer, an electromagnetic pulse, and, yes, good old fashioned dynamite. If you’ve ever seen Jurassic Park, it’s exactly like the scene where the diggers blast dynamite into the ground, and the bones bounce an image back onto a computer. The seismic source produces a shock wave, which then travels deep through the ground. Once the sound pulse hits an aquifer, the “shape” of the pulse wave changes due to the water in the rock matrix. This pulse is then detected by the seismoelectric survey instrument. Well drillers can then use this data to find the best spot to drill.
The most common seismoelectric survey instrument is the GF3500. It is essentially a rugged laptop computer designed to detect seismic disturbances. Not only can it detect underground aquifers, but it can also estimate the quality and quantity of the aquifer. It does so by measuring the bandwidth and the amplitude of the signal produced by the seismic source. The sensors in the machine are extremely accurate, so there are no guessing games when clients go to hire the well drillers. Twenty separate water or oil sites can be monitored by a single operator in one day of work.
The seismic source is the thing that produces the seismic wave. Dynamite is effective, and well drillers typically refer to this as “shot hole drilling.” However, the seismic source does not always have to be an explosive. Air guns are typically used in marine surveying and produce a seismic wave by firing air in a pressurized chamber underwater which produces a sound wave. Thumper trucks are a common method of seismic producing in the oil and gas industry. They are trucks with large metal “feet” that stomp on the ground, creating seismic waves. A seismic vibrator works on a similar principle as the thumper truck. It is a device mounted on the back of a truck that “injects” low frequency vibrations into the ground over an extended period of time, as opposed to sudden bursts produced by other methods like dynamite. About half of all land-based seismic surveys use seismic vibrators.
Water detection has gone from magic to science in the past centuries, resulting in more accurate detection and instances of turning up water rather than dirt. Not only that, but water detectors can also assess the yield of the aquifer before it is tapped. Before calling the well drillers, a company should invest in a water detection agency like American Water Surveyors. Contact them at 877-734-7661 or