We carry out research in the application of Geophysics to engineering, environmental and geological problems at different scales, in the near and deep subsurface. Non-invasive seismic, electrical and electromagnetic (EM) methods are used for a wide range of purposes, with multidisciplinary applications to many research fields (e.g. environmental and geotechnical engineering, geology, hydrology and hydrogeology, geomechanics, energy and natural resources, archaeology, pedology… ).
Research methods include laboratory experiments and field surveys, as well as development of data processing solutions and numerical modelling. Several MSc, PhD students and postdoc researchers fruitfully contribute to the group activities and advancements, developing new methods and solutions.
Our research covers the following key themes:
(in brackets you find the names of academics working on each theme)
Near-surface geophysical characterization for environmental and geotechnical engineering purposes (Sambuelli, Socco, Godio, Colombero): seismic, electrical and EM characterization of the near-surface and joint inversion of geophysical data, correlation with geotechnical and mechanical properties, groundwater research, location and depth of near-surface targets, evaluation of the structural integrity of infrastructures and buildings.
Active and passive surface wave (SW) seismic methods (Socco, Colombero): processing and inversion methods for SW analysis applied to a large variety of applications ranging from static corrections, active and passive SW tomography for reservoir and mining site characterization and imaging, seismic hazard, embankment assessment, geotechnical engineering.
Geophysical investigation and monitoring of the cryosphere and high-elevation environments (Godio, Colombero, Sambuelli): snow and ice characterization with EM and seismic techniques, glacier thickness estimation, monitoring & modeling of glacier evolution, multi-method geophysical investigations of periglacial environments and permafrost.
Geophysical methods for soil contamination investigation and soil remediation monitoring (Godio): electrical and EM investigations on contaminated sites, time-lapse monitoring of contamination amounts and paths, geophysical monitoring of soil remediation effectiveness.
Geophysical investigations for geothermal energy (Godio): multi-method characterization of low- to high-enthalpy geothermal areas, joint optimization of geophysical data using multi-objective swarm intelligence.
Archaeogeophysics (Sambuelli, Colombero): ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetic prospections on archaeological sites to detect buried objects and structures, ultrasonic tomography, radar and magnetic measurements on cultural heritage artifacts and buildings for structural analyses and conservation/restoration purposes.
Waterborne geophysics (Sambuelli, Colombero): GPR, electrical, magnetic and acoustic surveys in shallow freshwater environments (lakes and rivers) for geological and hydrogeological characterization of the water-covered deposits.
Passive seismic monitoring of potentially unstable rock masses and landslides (Colombero): ambient seismic noise and microseismicity analyses to detect failure precursor and monitor site stability.
Lab and field activities are undertaken thanks to the technical expertise and support of D. Franco (DIATI Geophysics Lab technician).
3D surface-wave seismic surveys for mineral exploration targets (Smart Exploration project)
Electrical Resistivity Tomography and Ground-Penetrating Radar investigations on a shallow periglacial lake
Ultrasonic measurements for cultural heritage preservation and restoration