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Airborne electromagnetic and radiometric peat thickness mapping of a bog in Northwest Germany (Ahlen-Falkenberger Moor)

Knowledge on peat volumes is essential to estimate carbon stocks accurately and to facilitate appropriate peatland management. This study used airborne electromagnetic and radiometric data to estimate the volume of a bog. Airborne methods provide an alternative to ground-based methods, which are labor intensive and unfeasible to capture large-scale (>10 km2) spatial information. An airborne geophysical survey conducted in 2004 covered large parts of the Ahlen-Falkenberger Moor, an Atlantic peat bog (39 km2) close to the German North Sea coast. The lateral extent of the bog was derived from low radiometric and elevated surface data. The vertical extent resulted from smooth resistivity models derived from 1D inversion of airborne electromagnetic data, in combination with a steepest gradient approach, which indicated the base of the less resistive peat. Relative peat thicknesses were also derived from decreasing radiation over peatlands. The scaling factor (~ka = 0.28 m-1) required to transform the exposure rates (negative log-values) to thicknesses was calculated using the electromagnetic results as reference. The mean dierence of combined airborne results and peat thicknesses of about 100 boreholes is very small (0.0 ~c 1.1 m). Although locally some (5%) deviations (>2 m) from the borehole results do occur, the approach presented here enables fast peat volume mapping of large areas without an imperative necessity of borehole data.



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