One of the largest, and arguably most important, data gaps existing in nearly all groundwater remediation studies is the lack of high quality subsurface geologic data in digital formats. This data gap is not due to a lack of geologic data collection. Rather, this gap is due to collection of the wrong types of data in an inefficient way that leads to inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete data and a poor return on the investments made in drilling. The long-term objective of this project is to expedite the adoption of improved geologic logging and geologic data management to support accurate representations of the subsurface geology for remediation sites. These improved geologic frameworks are critical to optimizing characterization and monitoring networks and anticipating the influence of matrix diffusion on remediation outcomes. The specific objective for this project is to train current and future groundwater professionals to develop graphic geologic logs using an innovative approach to logging: the graphical shading log. The project team will achieve this objective by creating freely accessible instructional materials designed for current groundwater remediation professionals and post-secondary courses in engineering, geoscience, and environmental science.

Technology Description

The graphical shading log approach to geologic logging facilitates rapid, accurate capture of sedimentological data and easy digitization for long-term storage of all the geologic data in a relational data management system. Graphical shading logs are set up with a depth scale bar on the far left and then a series of vertical panels, one for each parameter being logged. Within these vertical panels, there are columns containing the acceptable values for each parameter. For each depth interval representing a consistent set of geologic materials, the data is captured by shading in the correct value for each parameter. The visual format of the graphical shading log provides a roadmap of the parameters to log and their possible values, helping to ensure accurate and consistent data collection by loggers with a range of experience. A completed graphical shading log provides a visual representation of the changes in geologic characteristics with depth that is immediately useful for developing the geologic framework (i.e., the basis for the conceptual site model [CSM]), designing wells, selecting samples for analysis, and planning future characterization and/or remediation activities. In addition, the format of the graphical shading log and complementary database are designed to be customizable and transferable between hydrogeologic settings providing a new tool to advance geological data collection and management at groundwater remediation sites.


The most critical step to optimizing groundwater remediation projects is an improved representation of the inherent complexities/heterogeneities of the subsurface geology, and it all starts with the borehole log descriptions. To make these data more representative of the geology and more readily accessible in digital format would be invaluable to the Department of Defense (DoD) and the contractors working on environmental restoration projects. The graphical shading log approach to geologic data collection and management will provide the information needed to build realistic representations of the subsurface geology at DoD facilities. These geologic frameworks are critical to developing accurate CSMs needed to close the gap between remediation expectations and outcomes and optimize the resources DoD directs toward remediation projects. (Anticipated Project Completion – 2025)