Magnetic anomalies of steel drums: a review of the literature and research results of the INGV

Marco Marchetti, Vincenzo Sapia, Alessandro Settimi


The detection and evaluation of the status of disposal sites that contain hazardous waste materials is becoming an increasingly important element in environmental investigations. Close cooperation between the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV; National Institute of Volcanology and Geophysics) in Rome and the Italian environmental police has resulted in numerous underground investigations of different buried materials. Among the geophysical investigation tools, magnetometry is the most effective, rapid and precise of all of the geophysical methods for localizing buried steel drums. Analysis of magnetic map anomalies can provide a variety of information about buried materials, including extension, distribution and depth, with processing of the acquired magnetic data. This information is also very useful in case of excavations that are aimed at the recovery of hazardous waste. This study determines the most relevant analyses reported in the literature, with modeling of magnetometric methods for environmental applications both theoretically and experimentally. Some studies and research results achieved by the INGV in relation to magnetic anomalies produced by buried steel drums are also reported, as found in field operations and as achieved from test sites.


Toxic waste; Steel drum detection; Magnetic anomalies

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X