Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2016

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 02/23/2019

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Frank H. Weirich


Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) methods have been used to evaluate the presence, extent, and spatial variability of hydrophobic soils in Southern California Watersheds. It has been shown that high frequency ground penetrating radar equipment, under certain conditions, has the ability to determine the presence, depth, and persistence of post fire hydrophobic soils. As part of this study an extensive investigation was undertaken to not only evaluate the capability of this approach but also to understand under what conditions the method can be applied successfully and what are the limitations of the approach. The investigation includes use of computer simulations and modeling, laboratory investigations in sand boxes with native soils, and multiple field trials spanning a five year time period. Of particular significance is the finding that using GPR it is possible to: locate the interface between the uppermost burnt soil layer, and soil horizons below; quantify the depth at which the hydrophobic layer forms; and quantify the spatial extent of the layer. As part of this study best practice methods for both field and lab experimentation have also been developed and are presented in the body of the thesis. Based on this study it is concluded that the use of GPR can provide a much more accurate and comprehensive method of evaluating the nature of hydrophobic layers in such environments than the current point specific manual methods. As a result the use of GPR has significantly advanced our capacity to assess the potential for increased erosion and the generation of debris flows in such environments after rainfall events.


GPR, Ground Penetrating Radar, Hydrophobic Soils


xxiv, 204 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 202-204).


Copyright © 2016 William John Neumann III

Available for download on Saturday, February 23, 2019

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Geology Commons