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Electrical and Electromagnetic Methods

Capacitance (C): ability to store charge

Inductance (L): ability to generate current from

changing magnetic field arising from moving

charges in circuit

Each electrical property is basis for a geophysical method:

current (DC) flow

storage in ground

to induced alternating current (AC) flow

Resistivity Applications:

exploration from 1920s (Schlumberger)

mineral and groundwater exploration

contamination, locate subsurface cavities and

fissures

Resistance (Ohm’s Law)

flowing is given by Ohm’s Law:

R is measured in ohms, V in volts, and I in amps.

Resistivity

and inversely proportional to cross-sectional area

the wire

ρis measured in ohm-m (check above

definition)

measured in Siemens per metre (S/m),

equivalent to ohm-1m-1.

Non-Uniform Bodies:

Effect of Geometry

ρ2, then both their proportions and their geometry

determine the resistance of cube.

Apparent resistivity of above cubes is quite

different even though two resistivities are

the same.

In

a uniform cube, electrical properties are

same in each direction and cube is said to

be isotropic.

In

a non-uniform cube, electrical properties

can vary with direction, and cube is said to

be anisotropic.

Current Flow in Geological Materials:

Electrical current can flow, i.e. electrical charges can move, in rocks and soils, but

process is usually different from current flowing in a metal wire.

Three main mechanisms of current flow:

1) Electrolytic Conduction

• Occurs by relatively slow migration of ions in a fluid electrolyte.

• Controlled by type of ion, ion concentration, and ionic mobility.

• Occurs in metals by rapid movement of electrons.

• Found in native metals and some metal oxides and sulphide ores

3) Dielectric Conduction

• Occurs in weakly conducting materials, or insulators, in presence of external

alternating current

• Atomic electrons are shifted slightly relative to nucleus

In

most rocks, DC current flow is by

electrolytic conduction:

• controlled by pore fluid and pore geometry

• mineral grains of matrix contribute little,

except if metal ore

• geological materials show huge variation

(1024) in resistivities: 1.6 x 10-8 for native

silver to 1.6 x 1016 for pure sulphur

Archie’s Law

important factor controlling resistivity of whole rock.

rock:

ρw is resistivity of pore fluid.

0.5<a<2.5

1.3<m<2.5

n~2

ρw is controlled by dissolved salts and can vary

between 0.05 ohm-m for saline groundwater to 1000

ohm-m for glacial melt water.

a reasonable approximation in many sedimentary

rocks

break down

Current Flow from One Electrode in a Uniform Earth:

another very distant electrode, current flow is radially symmetric.

Current Density:

current is distributed over hemispherical shell. Current

density, J given by:

dissipates.

Voltage at Distance, r:

radius r and thickness dr, voltage change across shell is

given by:

summing shells: (Vr=0 at inf)

Potential Difference with Two Electrodes:

first electrode located at A, it affects

current distribution and ground potential:

Potential at any point, P in ground is equal to sum of potential from each

electrode (c.f. work done going uphill by different paths):

Current Flow in Uniform Earth with Two Electrodes:

electrode at S2:

Lines of constant potential (equipotential) are no longer

spherical shells, but can be calculated from expression

derived previously.

Current flow is always perpendicular to equipotential

lines.

Where ground is uniform, measured resistivity should

not change with electrode configuration and surface

location

Where inhomogeneity present, resistivity varies with

electrode position. Computed value is called apparent

resistivity ρA.

Depth of Current Penetration:

penetration can be increased by increasing separation of current

electrodes.

current electrode separation AB:

Example:

If

target depth equals electrode separation,

only 30% of current flows beneath that level.

typically needs to be 2-3 times its depth.

practicality of working with long cable lengths.

Separations usually less than 1 km.

Electrode Configurations and Geometric Factors:

practice is the apparent resistivity, can be written as:

Electrode Arrays:

which DC current flows into and out of the

ground plus two electrodes between which the

potential difference at the surface is measured.

arrays is not the same, because the geometric

factor, K is different.

Example:

are equally spaced. Then K simplifies to:

This

type of array is called a Wenner Array

invented in 1912

K = 2π [1/a – 1/2a – 1/2a + 1/a]-1

K = 2π [2/a – 2/2a]-1

K = 2π [4a – 2a]-1

2a2

K = 2π [2a/2a2]-1

K = 2π [1/a]-1

K = 2πa

Common Electrode Arrays:

electrodes. X is location assigned to measurement.

Geometric Factors and Apparent Resistivities.

Schlumberger array

Dipole-Dipole array

Square

Properties of Different Electrode Arrays:

different electrode arrays.

Relative

contributions from subsurface to

measured potential for different

electrode arrays (dashed lines negative):

Wenner: Alternating +ve and –ve near-surface regions

cancel, and main response is from depth, which is fairly

uniform laterally. Good for determining depth

variations in 1-D Earth.

Schlumberger: Equivalent vertical resolution to Wenner

(distance between contours), but deep response is

concave upwards. More sensitive to lateral variation in

Earth.

Dipole-Dipole: Poor vertical resolution as contours

spaced widely. Lobes from each dipole penetrate

deeply indicating good sensitivity to lateral variation at

depth.

Current Flow in Layered Media:

Earth. More realistic to consider vertical layers,

for example water saturated horizontal aquifer.

Current flowing vertically through layers will traverse each

in series, like resistors connected in series in an electrical

circuit:

resistance, and layers will behave as resistors connected in

parallel:

layer resistivity and layer thickness, and both cannot be

easily resolved.

Example:

ohm-m, has same lateral resistivity as 10-

m thick layer with 200 ohm-m resistivity.

Refraction of Electrical Current:

with two widely separated electrodes

(one at infinity), current flow is radially

symmetric.

If

near to boundary, current flow is

deviated: away from more resistive

medium, towards more conductive one.

Currentflow refracts at boundary in

proportion to change in resistivity:

Medium

Havealready found direction of current flow

between two electrodes in uniform medium:

Practical Resistivity Surveys:

current that flows into the ground and the

potential difference at various surface

locations.

circuit to avoid short circuiting ground: most

commercial systems have >1Mohm.

Problems:

(+ve electrode), and cations around cathode (-ve

electrode).

• Telluric currents, naturally occurring currents,

flow in Earth and create regional potential

gradients that confuse readings.

• Cable lengths also restrict surveys, particular for

deep objectives where electrode separations

must be large

Solutions:

• Use very low frequency AC alternating current to reduce

ion build up: anode and cathode are switched repeatedly.

• Average measurement over several cycles, so effects of

telluric currents and anion buildup tend to cancel.

•

Complication:

Depth of penetration changes with AC frequency,

so need to select appropriate value for survey:

10 m deep target requires ~100 Hz

100 m deep target requires ~10 Hz

Two Main Survey Methods:

variation in resistivity

variations in resistivity

Vertical Electrical Souding (VES):

electrodes increases depth of current

penetration into Earth.

Measurements are repeated as array is expanded about a fixed

point, maintaining the relative spacing of the electrodes.

structures

Wenner:

• All four electrodes have to be moved for each measurement

Schlumberger:

• Potential electrodes are kept fixed until measured voltage decreases

to low values as potential gradient in ground falls with increasing

current electrode separation.

Dipole-Dipole and Square:

• Rarely used for VES surveys

Constant Separation Traversing (CST):

lateral distance)

moved along a profile with electrodes

maintained at fixed distances.

Used to detect shear zones, faults and other vertical boundaries

• In practice, acquisition can be simplified by laying out more than four

electrodes, and using a subset for the reading.

• While reading made, electrodes can be moved from back to front of line to

speed up acquisition.

Example :

With 12 electrodes at 5 m intervals:

• Record Wenner array of 10 m spacing (distance between adjacent electrodes)

using alternating electrodes.

• 5 m station spacing along profile.

Qualitative CST Interpretation: Pseudosections

A single CST survey produces a profile of ρa vs. distance.

Increasing the electrode separation, increases depth of

penetration.

Repeating the same profile with different electrode spacing,

allows construction of a pseudosection of apparent resistivity.

A pseudosection is constructed by plotting measured value at

intersection of lines drawn at 45o from current and potential

dipoles, and contouring result. (Discussed in detail in IP section)

Vertical axis is electrode spacing NOT depth, but does give a very

approximate idea of the depth variation of ρa

Example of Pseudosection (Faulted Bedrock, UK)

THREE (3) main components: source,

4

inducer & record 4

4

3

4

2

ER inducer: Stainless steel electrode 5

6 1

1. Terrameter LS

2. DC battery

Other component: ER land cable, ER 3. Stainless steel electrode

jumper cable and ER cable connector 4. ER land cable

5. ER Jumper cable

6. ER Cable connector

BOREHOLE

(1) Setup the spread line (2) Pluck in the electrode

(3)

(3)Connecting jumpercable (4) Setup the terrameter

Connect thejumper (5) Terrameter

cable operator

ERI (2D Electrical tomography) is a survey techniques which

aims to build up a picture of the electrical properties of the

subsurface by passing an electrical current along many

different paths and measuring the associated voltage.

Electro

Terramet de

Electro er

de

Rawdata from data acquisition was analyzed

using RES2DINV software.

square method to produce rational boundary

representing distorted rock mass

investigated.

Electrical

resistivity spread

line 2

Subsurface composition:

i. Completely weathered to highly weathered zone (1 – 150 Ωm): Weak/deformation zone

ii. Highly weathered to moderately weathered zone (150 – 300 Ωm): Fractured with moist soil filled cracks

iii. Moderately weathered to hard material (300 – 2400 Ωm): Fractured to hard/dry material

iv. Fresh, hard and dry material (> 2400 Ωm): Massive bedded and hard bedrock; coarse dry and gravel

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