Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geophysics (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Advisor 1

Jason D. Gulley

Committee Member 1

Wayne D. Pennington

Committee Member 2

Roger M. Turpening


Locating caves and quantifying their geometries has significant importance in aquifer characterization, sinkhole mitigation, and contaminant transport monitoring. Several geophysical methods have been used for cave detection with limited success, but no reliable solution has been found. New developments in seismic techniques, however, show promising results indicating that cave voids may be more accurately detected.

We evaluated the capability of several seismic techniques to detect caves by collecting new seismic data over a known conduit connected to Madison Blue Spring, in northern Florida. These analyses validated the abilities of diffracted surface waves to detect water-filled caves by viewing these data in the time and frequency domain. We also used refracted and reflected P-waves to model multiple incident reflections for the conduit roof. Delay times in the refracted wave were present at the conduit offset but depth calculations using these delays proved unsuccessful. We were, however, able to demonstrate that surface wave diffractions can be synthetically modeled to verify field results. The combination of these seismic techniques was ultimately successful in determining the location, depth and approximate diameter of the conduit at Madison Blue Spring.