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The application of muon tomography to the imaging of railway tunnels

Thompson, L.F.; Stowell, J.P.; Fargher, S.J.; Steer, C.A.; Loughney, K.L.; O'Sullivan, E.M.; Gluyas, J.G.; Blaney, S.W.; Pidcock, R.J.

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L.F. Thompson

J.P. Stowell

S.J. Fargher

C.A. Steer

K.L. Loughney

E.M. O'Sullivan

S.W. Blaney

R.J. Pidcock


Cosmic ray muon radiography utilizes highly penetrating cosmic ray muons to image the density profile of an object of interest. Here we report on a trial to use a portable field-deployable cosmic ray muon tracking system in order to image the whole overburden of a UK railway tunnel with short-duration scans (c. 30 min). An unknown overburden void was identified and, after trial, confirmed by railway authorities. These experiments demonstrate the identification of hidden construction shafts with high levels of statistical significance as density anomalies within the data.


Thompson, L., Stowell, J., Fargher, S., Steer, C., Loughney, K., O'Sullivan, E., …Pidcock, R. (2020). The application of muon tomography to the imaging of railway tunnels. Physical Review Research, 2(2), Article 023017.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 5, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 8, 2020
Publication Date Apr 30, 2020
Deposit Date Mar 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 11, 2020
Journal Physical Review Research
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 2
Article Number 023017


Published Journal Article (1.4 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.

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