Mapping of Groundhog Burrows with Ground Penetrating Radar

Laura Sherrod - 2011

This project is a convergence of Paleontology and Geophysics, performed by Jarred Swiontek, Ken Schlosser,  Dr. Simpson, and Dr. Sherrod.  Burrows preserved as trace fossils in the rock record are classified into mammal or non-mammalian categories.  This classification scheme is based upon burrow complexity, with amphibians and reptiles excavating simple burrows and mammals creating more complex networks.  There is a lack of published information on the layout of these burrows as traditional methods require the disruption of the burrow to determine its track.  However, by employing geophysics, these burrows can be mapped using non-invasive geophysical techniques such as ground penetrating radar (GPR). 

Jarred Swiontek (right) points to a groundhog burrow on the campus of Kutztown University.

The 400MHz antenna (left) was used to survey groundhog burrows in Fall 2011.

High frequency antennas of 400MHz and 900MHz were used to map three Marmota monax burrows in Kutztown, PA during the Fall Semester of 2011.  An endoscope was used to confirm the interpretations of the GPR results.

Initial results indicate that the depth and dimensions of the burrows, as well as features such as ramps and offshoot tunnels, can be identified with the geophysical methods used.  Additional results of this project will be posted at a later date. 

Jarred Swiontek, Jeff Kadegis, Dr. Simpson, and Kenneth Schlosser (right, names from left to right) discuss the survey in the field beside the groundhog burrow. 
Results published in Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, April 2019
Mapping of Burrows Results
Paleontology and Geophysics Ground Penetrating Radar
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