Microwave remote sensing of physically buried objects in the Negev Desert: Implications for environmental research

Julian Daniels, Dan G. Blumberg, Leonid D. Vulfson, Alex L. Kotlyar, Valentin Freiliker, Gefen Ronen, Jiftah Ben-Asher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We report remote detections of physically buried specularly reflecting objects using microwave radar at two sites: Ashalim and Tseelim in the northern region of the Negev Desert, Israel. These detections provide confirmation that microwave subsurface remote sensing is a genuine phenomenon. At Ashalim, a scatterometer operating in the P-band (441 MHz, 68 cm) was mounted on a cherry picker truck at a height of 8 m and used to detect two triangular aluminum mesh reflectors (forming a 1-m square area reflector) buried down to a depth of 8 cm in dry sand. At Tseelim, the same scatterometer was mounted on an airplane flying at an altitude of 70 m and used to detect 1-m square aluminum reflectors (each one submerged at a different location along the airplane flight path) buried down to a depth of 20 cm. The experimental results compare favorably with a theoretical model that incorporates radar absorption effects arising in the sandy subsurface layer and radar interference effects arising from phase differences between reflections from the surface and buried reflector. The theoretical modeling also predicts the detection of a subsurface reflector down to a depth of about 4.4 m. This experiment and the associated modeling approach is the first of a series of planned experiments, which we outline for the detection and the theoretical evaluation of buried reflectors using remote microwave and VHF radar. We identify potential subject areas for environmental research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-256
Number of pages14
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2003


  • Geomorphology
  • Hydrology
  • Modeling
  • Remote sensing
  • Structural geology
  • Wave propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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