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Course Notes (Fall 2011)

GPGN 303: Section 3 Introduction to Electrical Methods

Yaoguo Li Department of Geophysics Colorado School of Mines

(For class use only, do not distribute!)

Outline

Introduction

Electrical conductivity

Electrical current in conductive media

Charge accumulation

Apparent resistivity

Vertical electrical sounding

Survey configuration

interpretation

2D and 3D imaging

Array and survey geometry

Inversion

Induced polarization

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Conventional geophysical methods:

Gravity

Magnetics

DC resistivity/Induced polarization

Electromagnetic induction (EM)

Seismic

Energy
Images
Measured
Source
(surface / subsurface)
Data
Interaction
between fields and
material properties
Altered fields to be
measured

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1. Introduction: Basic concept of electrical method

Inject direct current into conductive ground. • Measure the voltage produced on the surface or in boreholes. • Always involves four electrodes.

Different components of “the model”

Energy source: batteries or generator

Field: electric field / electrical current

Material property: electrical conductivity (resistivity)

Interaction: conductivity changes the flow of electrical current (*)

Altered field: different electrical field distribution

Data: voltage measured on the surface or in the boreholes.

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Conceptual model

Given the above configuration:

One would measure higher voltages over a resistive body and lower voltages over a more conductive body (to be discussed soon). • The voltage “senses” the change in resistivity or conductivity.

Historical Development

The first S.P. survey conducted in 1820 by Fox in England.

S.P. over a massive sulfide body

Schlumberger brothers in 1920’s

1D sounding and borehole logging

1940’s and 50’s: multiple position & multiple offset used in mineral exploration • 1950: Induced Polarization (IP) for disseminated sulfides

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Electrical Conductivity

Ohm’s Law: R = V/I • Resistance = Voltage/Current • Voltage is directly related to resistivity: Voltage increases when resistance increases.

A
L
V

Cross-section area: A

L

Length:

•   Rock conductivity: Ohm’s Law

Electrical Conductivity and Resistivity

Express in current density (j) in terms of electric field (E) and material property (resistivity !).

Conductivity is the more fundamental quantity

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Factors affecting rock conductivities

Porosity

Permeability (pore connectivity)

Fluid saturation

Electrical conductivity of the fluid

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(Ward, 1990)

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•   Anisotropy
!   in general, electrical conductivity is really a tensor!
!   The conductivity values are different in different directions
Simple Example:
The conductivities in
longitudinal and transverse
directions are different
2. Theoretical background: Current flow
across a boundary between two media
! = conductivity (S/m), S=" -1
" = resistivity ( " *m)
j = current density (A/m 2 )
E
= Electric field (V/m)
# = charge density (C/m 2 )
Q
= charge (C)
Tangential component
Normal component of E1

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•   On a planar boundary: (all quantities in the
two media are labelled with a subscript of 1
and 2, respectively)
–   Integration along a rectangular loop,
–   Current density is continuous across the boundary
(i.e., normal components are continuous)
–   Electrical field: tangential component is continuous,
but normal component is discontinuous!

Summary

Current density does not change across the interface. • The electric field is discontinuous across the interface. • The only field generator of static electric field is electrical charges

There must be accumulation of the electrical charges at the interface.

This leads to the only conclusion:

There must be charges accumulating on the interface!

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The questions are then:

What is the sign of the charge and how much is there?

Let’s approximate the charges locally as an infinite sheet

with surface charge density,

electrical field normal to the interface.

, which produces an

The normal field is given by

Such that the total normal components are given by

Set:

Surface density of charges on the interface

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Summary of charge accumulation
•   Two cases:
1. From conductive to resistive region
Positive charges accumulate
V
2. From resistive to conductive region
Negative charges accumulate
^

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How does the current flow?

Combining the two boundary conditions to derive the angle of current flow with respect to the normal vector

i.e., current bends towards normal when entering resistive medium, and away from normal when entering conductve medium!

Case I:
Case II:
•
•
•   Positive charge
pushes E away from
interface
•   Negative charge
pulls E in towards
interface
V
^

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Key Points:

charges accumulate and current flow

 Case Charge Electrical current Conductive to Bends towards Resistive the normal Resistive to Bends away Conductive from the normal

(Burger, 1992)

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Current flowing in and around conductivity anomalies

Current channels into

a conductor

Current flows around

a resistor

Arrowed lines are current flow; dashed lines are supposed to be equipotential lines.

1. Point current on surface of a uniform half-space.

Equivalent charges at the source point:

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2. Buried point current source in a half-space
is the mirror point of
w.r.t. the sound surface

at the source location!

Mise-a-la-masse method

An illustration of the role of charge accumulation in DC resistivity method

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1. Mise-a-la-masse method

Direct application of charge accumulation

Charge an in-place conductive body, creating charges on the surface of the body as current flows outwards.

Measure the potential at the surface.

Similar to gravity, except in this case you are measuring potential.

Schematics of a mise-a-la-masse survey

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Conceptual summary of DC resistivity method

We inject electrical current into the ground (source and field)

Electrical charges accumulate on the interfaces between regions with different electrical conductivity (physical property and interaction with the input primary field).

Accumulated charges produce additional electric field that is superimposed on the primary field (altered field).

We measure the resultant field (data), which carry information about the conductivity variation.

Mise-á-la-masse surveys:

delineated the extent of sulfides method for correlating drill hole ore intersections guide drilling during a deep exploration program.

(Hattula and Rekola, 2000, Geophysics)

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Inject current into the ground using a pair of widely separated

 A &B electrode, so as to create nearly horizontal priamry field in the middle.

As current passes through regions of varying conductivity, charges accumulate at the interfaces between regions with different conductivities.

Measure the potential differences produced by these accumulated charges together with the primary potential.

Rely on the fact that the horizontal component of the primary electric field is nearly constant with the central 1/3 bewteen the AB electrodes

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Measures the horizontal variation in voltage. • Use fixed electrode (A and B) positions at large separation. • Move MN around inside AB (central 1/3) • Originally: measurements only along the line passing AB • Commonly: measurements over a grid • MN electrodes are parallel to AB electrodes (important!)

Primary Field in the direction paralle to AB

A
B
-1000 m
1000 m
Linear scale
log scale

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Primary Field in X-direction: in the central area
Linear scale
log scale
Middle gradient: over a conductive Body
Primary field
Total field

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Middle gradient: over a resistive Body
Primary field
Total field

Charge accumulation & anomalous potential • Two parts of potential difference

Primary

Anomalous

The anomalous potential can be either constructive or destructive to the primary field, depending on location.

Over a conductive body: we measure a central low with two positive side lobes

Over a resistive body: we measure a central high with two negative side lobes

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Variation of Potential Difference
•   The current is closer to the surface near the
electrodes. Therefore, the potential is also larger near
the electrodes, but this is due simply to the geometry
of the survey (not ideal for interpretation)
Uniform half-space
V

X

Apparent Resistivity:

Let’s define a quantity, “apparent resistivity”. • It should:

Be constant over a uniform half-space (preferred)

have the units of resistivity

Uniform half-space

X

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Apparent Resistivity: Definition

The apparent resistivity is the measured voltage scaled by the current and by a geometrical factor (K).

The geometrical factor depends on the type of survey, based on the electrode and voltmeter positions. • Generally:

It is a convenient quantity to work with for the following two reasons:

It has the units of resistivity ( ! m)

It is equal to the true value if we have a uniform halfspace

However, apparent resistivity is NOT the primary data. Measured voltages are the primary data, which are used by most modern inversion algorithms

In true 3D acquisition where the MN and AB electrodes are not aligned in the same direction, we may NOT be able to define an apparent resistivity, because the geometric factor is undefined (infinite).

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Middle Gradient Array Over a Vertical Contact

A (-1000 m)
A (+1000 m)
MN=20 m

Apparent resistivity map from a middle gradient Survey at the Ballenger Ranch, NM

Two surveys merged AB1: (-20,60 ) (280,60) AB2: (-40,0) (260,0) MN= 10 m

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Areal mapping to characterize the lateral variation of subsurface conductivity • Has little information about the vertical variation • Often used:

to map elongated linear features such as a vein, an intrusive dyke, or a paleochannel

As a reconnaissance tool to locate targets for further investigation

Vertical electrical sounding (VES)

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VES (Vertical Electrical Sounding)

Used to detect the vertical variation of resistivity as a function of depth. • Designed to work in 1D environment (layer caked earth): Assumption! • Length AB increases sequentially • For each AB separation, measure the potential using a small MN separation

Schlumberger sounding

Designed to work over 1D earth • MN located in the center between A & B

Measure electric field

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Schlumberger Sounding
Geometrical factor:
When
,

Consider a half-space with 2 layers of differing resistivity.

Resistivity of top layer is

and the bottom layer is

.

At small AB, the current does not flow deep enough to significantly detect the deeper layer. Most current flows in the top of the first layer. • The potential reflects the resistivity of the top layer.

At large AB, most of the current flows in the deeper layer. • The potential reflects the resistivity of the bottom layer.

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Summary of 2-layer half-space

Depth of investigation: on the same order as AB/2

For small AB (L<<h):

For large AB (L>>h):

The apparent resistivity changes monotonically between layers (it only increases or decreases).

h
h

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Plot the apparent resistivity data as a function of AB/ 2 on a log-log plot.

Depth of current penetration

AB determines the current distribution • The current distribution determines the depth of investigation. • Depth of investigation is proportional to AB separation (not linearly, though!) • In order to have 50% of current flowing beneath a given depth, the length AB must be twice that depth. • Nominally: the depth of investigation is half AB spacing

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Current distribution in a uniform half-space

Fraction of current above depth h
Depth of 50% current partition: h=AB/2
Current density at depth h direction
below th emiddle point between AB

However, the current flow depends strongly on electrical conductivity. • Less current goes to the depth when there is a more conductive surface layer: smaller depth of investigation • More current goes to the depth when there is a more resistive surface layer: greater depth of investigation

(Burger, 1992)

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Practical implementation of Schlumberger Sounding

Select a set of AB separations that increases logarithmically, so there are several values per decade • Keep the MN separation much smaller, so we effectively measuring the horizontal electric field at the mid-point between A and B • To keep the measured #V MN well above noise, we increase the MN separation for every half decade of AB separations. • Two AB separations are repeated using two adjacent MN separations (see next slide for example).

Sample separations for
Schlumberger sounding

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Depth of investigation as a function of MN spacing (in VES over 1D earth only)

For a given AB separation, an increase in MN separation leads to decreased depth of investigation. • The reason:

As M and N electrodes move apart, they each become closer to the current electrode A or B

Correspondingly, the relative contribution to the measured voltage by deeper charges decrease, so the data are more sensitive to shallower conductivity.

An end-member scenario: As MN separation approaches AB separation, the depth of investigation becomes zero.

-- decreasing depth of investigation

Exapnding MN causes the curve to shift to the right!

Measurements with same AB but different MN

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3-Layer Cases

1.

2.

3.

4.

A:

Q:

K:

H:

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Wenner array beside a dipping contact (parallel to contact)

1D Interpretation

Curve matching by manual approach (ancient):

comparing measured curve with pre-calculated curves to find a macthing one, thus the resistivities and thickness • Works for two- and three-layered cases • Least-squares solution to find the resistivities and thicknesses of a small number of layers. Generalized nonlinear inversion to find a minimum structure function of resistivity as a function of depth.

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Theoretically:

Uniqueness Theorem: Lange 1932 • 1D: perfect data for all AB offset and fixed MN

Practically:

Many similar solution exists because we have only finite number of data with measurement errors.

Least-squares solution (parametric inversion): find the resistivities and thicknesses so as to minimize the data misfit between observed and calculated apparent resistivities.

Parametric inversion for 1D parameters

We assume known number of layers, and parameterize the “model” by the resistivity and thickness of each layer. • For example, a two-layered earth has three parameters:

We can calculate the predicted apparent resistivity knowing the values of these variables and surveys geometry:

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We solve a non-linear least squares problem to find

the values of

that would have

produced the measured apparent resistivity data. • This is done by minimizing the following data misfit function;

Because the forward modeling is non-linear, this is solved iteratively by starting from an initial guess for

Equivalence:

one form of ambiguity • Pertains to the cases when

A a thin resistive layer is sandwiched between more conductive layers: K type:

Or: a thin conductive layer is sandwiched between resistive

layers:

H type:

As long as the transverse resistance (K type) or the longitudinal conductance (H type) remains the same, resistivity profiles with different middle layer thickness will produce the same apparent resistivity curve within error tolerance.

Transverse resistance

Longitudinal conductance

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Leyden Schlumberger Sounding Four-layer interpretation

Leyden Schlumberger Sounding
Five-layer interpretation
This thin layer is clearly not required.

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2D and 3D Imaging (ERT)

2D imaging of subsurface

Multiple measurements at different surface locations with fixed array geometry: detects lateral variation of electrical conductivity Multiple measurements at the same locations with expanding array geometry: detects vertical variation of electrical conductivity

To detect the variation of conductivity horizontally and vertically in the surface, we require measurements at multiple locations using expanding arrays (multiple electrode off-set)

Equivalently: multiple source locations and multiple measurements for each source location

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2D acquisition: Co-linear survey geometry
•   Traditional surveys conducted along lines
(co-linear arrays)
•   Common survey geometries
I
V
–   pole - pole
I
V
–   pole - dipole (PDR)
V
I
–   pole - dipole (PDL)
I
V
–   dipole – dipole
I
Wenner
V
Pseudo-sections: plotting raw data
•   Apparent resistivity:

Organize data by TX-RX (current and potential) electrode locations • Plotting each datum (apparent resistivity directly below the mid-point of the array) at a pseudo-depth (array separation)

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Example: Dipole-dipole pseudo-section

Pole-pole

Pole-dipole (R)

Pole-dipole (L)

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Pole-pole

Pole-dipole (R)

Pole-dipole (L)

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Pseduo-section were developed as an easy way to organize and plot the data • It has little to no correspondence to real geo-electrical sections

Recall: each datum is affected by the entire charge accumulation associated with electrical conductivity variation in the subsurface (volumetric effect)

Thus: CANNOT make one-to-one correspondence between a given datum and a point in the subsurface

Earlier interpretation using on pseudo-section was based on matching anomaly patterns in the pseudo-section with known conductivity anomalies in the subsurface

Can be effect when the subsurface is simple (such as a single conductivity anomaly)

Difficult when multiple anomalies or geological noise is present

Example pseudo-sections: Illustration of Geological Noise

 Resistivity model Ohm-m Resistivity model Ohm-m Pseudo-section Pseudo-section

Dipole-dipole; n=1,8; a=10m • Simple scenario: clear anomaly pattern and interpretable • Multiple bodies: overlapping anomalies dominated by effect of shallow conductivity variations

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There is no analytic solution for complicated 2D or 3D problem
We utilize numerical solution of differential equation governing the
electrical potential in conductive media (refer to course on static field)
Finite difference or finite element methods
•
Discretize a much larger region of earth than that of interest
Region of interest
Entire discretized region

Interpretation of 2D DC resistivity data: Inversion

 • Similar to the 1D case, we resort to inversion to quantitatively interpret the measured data by finding a simple conductivity distribution that could have produce the data • This is accomplished by requiring conductivity (referred to as model) to satisfy two – criteria: It must reproduce the observed potential difference data to within the error tolerance It must be simple and geologically interpretable (quantified by a model objective function) – (quantified by data misfit function, as in 1D) • Parameterize the conductivity by a piece-wise constant 2D function, such that the number of cells is much greater than the number of data •   Inversion finds the conductivity values in all cells
M is the number
of unknown
conductivity
values

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Data misfit

N: number of data ! i is the standard of error in i’th datum

Model objective function

m=ln( "): model used in inversion (log conductivity) • m 0 is a reference model (we want the inverted model to be close to it)

Inversion solution

Obtain the solution by Tikhonov regularization:

where µ is the regularization parameter

 – determines the balance between the two parts

We look for an optimal balance between the two components

 – so that we fit the signal in the data, but not the noise one simple condition: data misfit equal to it expectation –

Solution obtained iteratively by starting with an initial guess

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A mystery example: DC resistivity inversion

Apparent resistivity pseudo-sections

dipole dipole

Pole dipole right
Pole dipole left
Pole pole

Inverted resistivity sections

Inversions with different :
“best” model: m 0 = 400 " m
m 0 = 40 " m

m 0 = 4000 " m

" -m

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•
Regions of investigation

Regions to which data are insensitive

Quantifying the Depth of Investigation

Invert data with two different reference models The regions that don’t change very much are considered to be resolved (investigated) The regions that change a lot with reference model are not seen by data

3D acquisition and imaging

co-linear arrays along multiple lines

Line spacing should be shorter than the maximum depth of investigation of the 2D arrays

More effectively (approach-II):

True 3D acquisition with cross-line measurements

Distributed data acquisition: measure potential data over a portion of the 2D grid for each current-electrode location

Cross-line acquisition analogous to cross-hole acquisition

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Induced Polarization (IP) Methods

Phenomenological observation of induced polarization effect

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IP effect is characterized by a phase lag between the observed potential and input current in the frequency domain

Definition of chargeability

 • • Primary property characterizing the IP effect in a rock unit is the chargeability # : ratio of secondary potential over total potential The secondary potential is a function of delay time, so is the chargeability Intrinsic chargeability (measured on rock samples) • A similar quantity, apparent chargeability can be defined for field measurements using co-linear arrays

Commonly used as IP data, but not always defined just as apparent resistivity

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Relationship between apparent chargeability and intrinsic chargeabilities

Assume the subsurface is divided into M subregions (or cells as in the DC inversion) • To the first order, apparent chargeabilities are the weighted sum of the intrinsic chargeabilities

Siegel’s (1959)

dilation equation

The weighting factors in the equations are called IP sensitivities (see next slide) • This relationship also forms the basis for the most practical IP inversion used in interpretation.

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•   Plots of sensitivities with a chargeable block. Contribution
from block \$ for #=0.1, is # a .
I V
I V
At n=5, #a = -0.0897
At n=1, #a = 0.0608
I V
I V
At n=2, #a = 0.0358
At n=6, #a = -0.0103

Linear forward modeling of IP data: sensitivities

Inversion of IP data

A two-stage process • First, we invert the accompanying DC resistivity data to recover the conductivity distribution • Second, we use that conductivity to invert IP data

use the recovered conductivity to calcuate the sensitivities in Siegel’s dilation equation

Invert the IP data (apparent chargeabilities) using a similar approach as in the DC resistivity inversion: finding a simple intrinsic chargeability model that predicts the observed apparent chargeabilities.

We also impose the condition that the chargeability must be positive

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A mystery model - IP inversion results

Apparent chargeability pseudo-sections

dipole dipole
Pole dipole right
Pole dipole left
Pole pole

Inverted chargeability sections

mS/m

Apparent

conductivity data

Apparent

chargeability data

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DC resistivity Example: McDermott deposit

Overburden is delineated.

Observed
data
mS/m
Recovered
model
mS/m
Predicted
data
mS/m

IP - McDermott deposit Ore body’s depth and position are located.

Observed
data