Magnetic properties of soils have adverse effects on metal detectors, particularly hampering operations during clearance
of landmines and unexploded ordnance. Although there is well established research in soil magnetism and modeling
electromagnetic induction systems these have tended to exist in disparate disciplines. Hence, a workshop was organized
to bring together researchers, academics, stakeholders and manufacturers to discuss key priorities for research and
technology in a unique multidisciplinary environment. Key knowledge gaps identified include limited information on the
spatial heterogeneity of soil magnetic properties in 2D and 3D, whether current models describing soil responses are
appropriate for all soils and the need for compensation mechanisms in detectors to be improved. Several priorities were
identified that would maximize future developments for multidisciplinary research in soil magnetism and detector
technology. These include acquiring well constrained empirical data on soil electromagnetic properties and detector
response over the frequency range of detectors; development of predictive models of soil magnetic properties;
investigating variability of soil magnetic properties in two and three dimensions across a range of scales. Improved
communication between disciplines is key to effective targeting and realization of research priorities. Possible platforms
include a multidisciplinary pilot study at an appropriate site and the development of an online repository to assist
dissemination of results and information.
Information on the electromagnetic properties of soils and their effects on metal detectors is increasingly necessary for effective demining due to limited detector efficacy in highly magnetic soils and the difficulty of detecting minimummetal mines. Magnetic measurements of soils, such as magnetic susceptibility and frequency dependent susceptibility can aid the detection of problem soils, but are not part of standard soil analyses. Consequently, little information about soil magnetism exists within the soil, environmental science and environmental geophysics communities. Lack of empirical data may be compensated through the estimation of soil magnetic characteristics by predictive modeling approaches. Initial modeling of soil types in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was attempted by expert and analogue approaches, using only coarse scale soil type information, which resulted in the production of national soil maps for low field and frequency-dependent susceptibility. Validation of the maps was achieved by comparison of empirical magnetic data from soil samples in the National Bosnian soil archive in Sarajevo. Discrepancies between the model and empirical data are explained in part by the differences in soil parent material within each soil type, which controls the amount of Fe released into the soil system available for in situ conversion to magnetic Fe oxides. The integration of soil information (type and parent material), expert knowledge and empirical data refines the predictive modeling of soil magnetic characteristics in temperate-Mediterranean environments such as BiH. Further spatial separation of soil types in the landscape can be achieved by digital terrain modeling. Preliminary fine-scale, landscape-soil modeling indicates improved spatial resolution of soil types compared with the original coarsely-mapped soil units, and the potential to synthesize local scale soil magnetic maps.