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Japanese scientists hunt for groundwater

Feb. 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM   |   Comments

SENDAI, Japan, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Japanese scientists said airborne electromagnetic tests reveal potential groundwater in areas hit by the tsunami that could revive some strawberry farms.

Staff at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology found a subterranean layer of sand they said could hold fresh groundwater to be used to irrigate crops destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. The Mainichi Times said of the 251 strawberry farmers in Miyagi Prefecture, 232 saw their fields destroyed.

Scientists flew in a helicopter close to ground level, sending electromagnetic pulses into the ground. Areas with high salt content, consistent with the absence of groundwater, typically have less magnetic resistance. This was the case about 15 feet underground. But as researchers probed deeper, they found a layer of sand about 65 feet below the surface that had high electromagnetic resistance, consistent with groundwater, they said.

"We could re-establish some fields if fresh groundwater has really been found," an unidentified town official said.

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