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Presentation Slides

This SERDP and ESTCP webinar focuses on DoD-funded research efforts to identify reliable techniques for detailed survey of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at underwater remediation sites. Specifically, the investigator will cover the development of a marine advanced geophysical classification system that can detect medium-sized ordnance in shallow water at depths between 5 and 150 feet.


“Advanced Geophysical Classification of Buried Ordnance in Marine Environments” by Dr. Stephen Billings (SERDP Project MR19-5073)

The presentation will discuss progress made toward developing and testing a marine advanced geophysical classification system that combines an electromagnetic induction sensor (the GapEOD UltraTEM® metal detector) with a nonmetallic towfish (the Tetra Tech TEMA). The system was designed to detect and classify medium-sized ordnance with a single-pass towed platform at minimal standoff distances in water depths between 5 and 150 feet. The system was tested at the Sequim Bay underwater demonstration site in Washington State in October 2021.

The presentation will describe challenges encountered in surveying in the marine environment and the methods used to overcome those challenges. These obstacles included strong signals generated by conductive seawater, the need to maintain close standoff to the water bottom, and the complexities involved in obtaining accurate sensor positions when operating underwater.


Speaker Biography

Dr. Stephen Billings splits his time working for Black Tusk Geophysics in Canada and Gap Explosive Ordnance Detection in Australia and is an adjunct professor in earth and ocean sciences at the University of British Columbia. He has over 25 years of experience working with geophysical sensor data, including 20 years focused on improving methods for detection and characterization of unexploded ordnance (UXO). He has also been a principal investigator on 10 completed SERDP-ESTCP munitions response projects, including developing and testing classification strategies for magnetic and electromagnetic sensors and developing and certifying new sensor systems. Dr. Billings earned a bachelor’s degree in theoretical mathematical physics from the Australian National University and a doctoral degree in geophysics from the University of Sydney.