What is a seismic wave? A seismic wave is a periodic disturbance or “wave” of energy that travels through the earth. Some seismic waves are caused by natural phenomenon, such as an earthquake. Other seismic waves are manufactured. One reason seismic waves are manufactured is to locate groundwater sources prior to calling in water well drillers.
While the words “seismic waves” are synonymous with earthquakes, they can also be very beneficial. Seismology, which is the study of seismic waves, has given us unique knowledge about how layers of dirt, rock and sediment are structured beneath the earth’s crust. Consider how many valuable resources – oil, coal, diamonds, water, etc – lie beneath the surface of the earth. Without seismology, we would not know how to access and extract these precious resources.
Seismology is of particular importance to water well drillers and those involved in study, location and extraction of ground water. Some of your better water well drillers do not like to drill dry wells. Others don’t care. For those individuals that have hired a water well driller, they know drilling a well is a costly, time consuming business. Dry wells can be a source of embarrassment for drillers even though they get paid whether they find water or not. Water well drillers do not want to have the reputation of a company that cannot produce a well. That is why water well drillers and consumers alike rely on companies such as American Water Surveyors to find groundwater sources before drilling takes place.
American Water Surveyors uses the GF3500 seismoelectric survey instrument that is specifically designed to detect electrical signals generated by the passage of seismic impulses through earth layers. These signals are extremely precise. Not only can they identify sources of groundwater, they can also estimate the depth and yield of the source. The GF3500 instrument, which marries the knowledge of decades of seismological study with the latest in groundwater technology, looks surprising simple at first glance. However, do not be fooled! The GF3500 can handle up to 20 sites in one standard working day.
Seismic waves will always have a shaky reputation due to their association with earthquakes, but the next time you think of this humble energy pulse, also think of how well drillers and consumers alike rely on them to locate one of the world’s most precious resources – water.
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