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A Comparison of Resistivity and Electromagnetics as Geophysical Techniques

Felix Onovughe Oghenekohwo (felix@aims.ac.za) African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)

Supervised by: Prof. George Smith University of Cape Town, South Africa

22 May 2008

Submitted in partial fulfilment of a postgraduate diploma at AIMS

Abstract

A very precise understanding of what the resistivity and electromagnetic methods used in geophysical

exploration, is what this essay sets out to explain. More imp ortant is the fact that both methods may

be used to complement each other for a better understanding of the subsurface of the Earth in terms

of structures, having a form of electrical property, which may be present.

We start by taking a quick look at what the concept of geophysi cs and the techniques which it makes

use of entails. A clear distinction is made in the major properties explored by each geophysical method.

A more focussed analysis of the electrical methods used in ex ploration is then discussed, paving way for

the main discourse, which is the resistivity and electromagnetic methods.

In order to appreciate the correlation to Physics, a brief introduction of some basic concepts in Physics

on which both methods (resistivity and electromagnetics) d epend is discussed and the various methods and systems then follow. Emphasis was laid on the possible mo des of the resistivity survey as well as some of the systems used in electromagnetics.

Since no method is entirely perfect in exploration geophysi cs, we conclude by looking at the advantages

of one method over the other, their similarities and differences, their respective applications and major

limitations faced during a survey using both methods.

Declaration

I, the undersigned, hereby declare that the work contained i n this essay is my original work, and that any work done by others or by myself previously has been acknowledged and referenced accordingly.

or by myself previously has been acknowledged and referenced accordingly. Felix Onovughe Oghenekohwo, 22 May 2008

Contents

Abstract

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1 Introduction to Geophysical Techniques and Exploration

 

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1.1 Introduction to Geophysics

 

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1.2 Geophysical Techniques

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1.2.1 Seismic Method

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1.2.2 Electromagnetic Method

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1.2.3 Electrical Resistivity Method

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1.2.4 Magnetic Method

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1.2.5 Gravity Method

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1.2.6 Ground-penetrating Radar

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1.2.7 Self-potential Method

 

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1.2.8 Induced Polarization

 

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1.3 General Uses of Geophysical Methods

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2 An Overview of the Basic Electrical and Electromagnetic Metho ds

 

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2.1 Natural Field Methods

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2.1.1 Self-potential Method

 

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2.1.2 AFMAG Method

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2.1.3 Telluric/Magnetotelluric Field Method

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2.2 Artificial Field Methods

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2.2.1 Equipotential-line Method

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2.2.2 Resistivity Method

 

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2.2.3 Induced Polarisation

 

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2.2.4 Electromagnetic Method

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3 Basis for Comparing Resistivity and Electromagnetic Method

 

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3.1 Basic principle of resistivity of materials and current flow

 

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3.2 Conduction of electric currents in materials

 

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3.3 Potential distribution in a homogeneous Earth

 

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3.4 Field procedure: configuration and method .

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ii

 

3.5 Resistivity data interpretation

 

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3.6 Electromagnetic method

 

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3.7 Continuous-wave electromagnetic systems

 

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3.7.1 Fixed-source systems

 

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3.7.2 Moving-source systems

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3.8 Pulse-transient electromagnetic systems

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3.9 Electromagnetic data interpretation

 

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3.10 Comparing resistivity and electromagnetic method

 

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4

Limitations and Applications of the Resistivity and Electromagnetic Method

 

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4.1 Limitations of both methods

 

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4.2 Applications of both methods

 

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4.3 Conclusion

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References

 

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iii

1.

Introduction to Geophysical Techniques and

Exploration

1.1 Introduction to Geophysics

Applying the principles of Physics to the study of the earth i s what is known as Solid Earth Geophysics,

as Geophysics is a three-fold application of the principles of Physics to the study of the Earth, Moon

and Planets [Rey97]. This study will focus on its relation to the Earth’s interior. This entails the investigation of the interior of the earth by taking measurements at or near the Earth’s surface. This aspect of geophysics is in fact called “Applied geophysics”. The other aspect, which is Pure geophysics, involves the study of the whole or substantial parts of the pl anet. The aim of Applied geophysics is centred on the economy, how resources can be exploited for th e use of the economy.

A detailed analysis of the measurements made in Solid Earth Physics, can reveal how the physical

properties of the Earth’s interior vary vertically and laterally. The study also investigates specific features believed to exist within the Earth’s crust. Among such featu res are salt domes, oil reservoirs, ore bodies,

geological faults and so on. The essence of studying the exis tence of such features has a very significant effect on practical problems such as mineral exploration, oi l prospecting, locating underground water reservoirs, mapping of archaeological remains, locating buried pipes etc.

Several methods are involved in taking measurements. These methods may be applied to a wide range

of investigations from studies of the entire Earth to the exploration of a localised region of the upper

Earth’s crust for engineering and other purposes. Measurements within geographically restricted areas are used to determine the distribution of physical properti es at depths that reflect the local subsurface geology.

Although the methods are prone to certain ambiguities or uncertainties of interpretation, they provide a

relatively rapid and cost effective measure of deriving real ly distributed information on subsurface geology.

In the exploration for subsurface resources, the methods are capable of detecting and delineating local

features of potential interest that could not be discovered by any realistic drilling programme [KB84].

1.2 Geophysical Techniques

Geophysical techniques are the various physical methods which are used in geophysical exploration. They are also referred to as geophysical survey methods. Geophysical exploration actually involves the applications of the principles of geophysics to geologi cal exploration. Geophysical methods can be classified in various ways.

In terms of their source of energy, they can be classified as active methods or passive methods. Active

methods are those which require the input into the earth of artificially generated energy or artificial signal and the Earth’s response to the signal is measured. Some methods involve the generation of local electrical or electromagnetic fields that may be applied ana logously to natural fields. Examples of active geophysical methods are seismic, electrical resistivity, electromagnetic methods, ground-probing radar, and induced polarization.

The passive methods are those which make use of the naturally occurring fields, thereby measuring the

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Section 1.2. Geophysical Techniques

Page 2

Earth’s response to the signal. Also known as the natural fiel d methods, the passive methods utilise the gravitational, magnetic, electric and electromagneti c fields of the Earth. Generally, natural field methods can provide information on Earth properties to significantly greater depths and are logistically simpler to carry out than artificial source methods. Examples of passive methods are gravity, magnetic, radiometric decay method, self potential methods, and tell uric methods.

Another classification of geophysical methods depends on their operational procedure, hence we have the ground, airborne or borehole methods. Most of the ground methods can also be used in the air, under water or in boreholes as well. Examples of airborne geophysical methods include Magnetic methods, Electromagnetic methods, Airborne AFMAG (Audio Frequency Magnetics) and Radioactivity. The resistivity method and the seismic method are two exampl es of ground geophysical methods.

Of all the geophysical surveying methods, there exists an op erative physical property to which the method is sensitive. The type of physical property to which a method responds clearly determines its range of applications. For instance, seismic or electrical methods are suitable for the location of a buried water table because saturated rock may be distinguished from dry rock by its higher seismic velocity or higher electrical conductivity. Similarly, the magneti c method is very suitable for locating buried magnetic ore bodies because of their high magnetic suscepti bility [KB84].

The mode of operation is another factor which determines the type of method employed in a geophysical exploration programme. For example, due to a high speed of op eration, reconnaissance surveys are often carried out from the air which makes the electrical or seismi c methods to be non-applicable since these require physical contact with the ground for a direct input of energy [KB84].

The operative physical property and observed parameter of some of the geophysical methods are sum- marised in Table 1.1 which has been taken from Kearey and Brooks (see [KB84]).

Table 1.1: Geophysical methods, their measured parameters and operative physical properties

Method Gravity Observed Parameter Spatial Variations in gravitational field strength Spatial variations in
Method
Gravity
Observed Parameter
Spatial Variations in gravitational
field strength
Spatial variations in geomagnetic
field strength
Travel times of reflected
and refracted seismic waves
Earth’s resistance
Operative Physical Property
Density
Magnetic
Magnetic susceptibility
Seismic
Density and elasticity of air
Electrical
Electrical conductivity
Resistivity
Induced
Polarization voltages
or ground resistance
Electrical potentials
Electrical capacitance
Polarization
Spontaneous
Electrical conductivity
potential
Electromagnetic
Response to electromagnetic field
Electrical conductivity
and inductance
Ground-
Travel times of reflected radar pulses Dielectric constant
penetrating Radar

Section 1.2. Geophysical Techniques

Page 3

1.2.1 Seismic Method

The seismic method measures the response of seismic (sound) waves that act as input into the earth and then refract or reflect off subsurface soil and rock boundaries. The seismic source is usually a sledgehammer-blow to a metal plate on the ground, a larger weight drop, or an explosion. The earth response is measured by sensors called geophones, which mea sure ground motion. Two basic methods of seismic exploration are used namely, refraction and reflection.

Seismic Refraction : This method measures head waves that are refracted along geologic formations below the Earth’s surface. Refractions generally occur along the top of the water table and the uppermost bedrock formation. The impulse source generates a seismic wave that travels through the subsurface. When the wave-front reaches a layer of higher velocity (e.g. bedrock), a portion of the energy is refracted, or bent, and travels along the refractor as a head wave at a velocity determined by the composition of the bedrock. A plot of the arrival time of the first seismic wav e to the series of geophones, which are already lined on the surface, gives information about the depth and location of the geologic horizons. This information is plotted in a cross section that shows the depth to the water table and to the first bedrock layer. This method is used in geotechnical engineering to determine overburden thickness and depth of bedrock for design and cost estimates for road cuts, investigating pipeline routes and other engineering projects.

Seismic Reflection : This is very similar to the refractive technique. It considers the reflected wave instead of the refracted wave. In this case, the receiving geophone is placed closed to the source to exclude refracted waves. The reflection method measures the time required for a sound impulse to travel from the source, bounce off a geologic boundary, and return to the surface at a geophone. It also gives information about the depths to the reflecting layers a nd their dips. The reflection from a geologic horizon is similar to an echo off a cliff face.

1.2.2 Electromagnetic Method

The electromagnetic method, otherwise known as the EM metho d measures the response of an induced alternating current into the ground. It can further be divided into Frequency domain electromagnetic method (FDEM), Very low frequency (VLF) method which measures perturbations in the magnetic field of radio waves, Time-domain EM (TDEM), Airborne EM survey, Telluric and Magneto-telluric methods. Of the above, the most common are the TDEM and FDEM methods. Th e main principle of the EM method is that a current is induced into the ground by a transmitting coil. A receiving coil is placed a short distance away to measure the induced earth current. The size of the induced current depends on the geologic material beneath the transmitter and receiver. The property of phase of the received e.m.f is also important in this kind of survey, particularly for the TDEM.

1.2.3 Electrical Resistivity Method

Resistivity surveys measure variations in the electrical r esistivity of the ground by applying small electric currents across arrays of ground electrodes. Also known as resistivity imaging, it involves the passage of a direct current into the ground via electrodes and the measurement of the potential difference between some sections of the subsurface. This gives a measure of the electrical impedance of the subsurface material. It also helps in understanding the horizontal and vertical discontinuities in the electrical properties of the ground. Resistivity sounding involves gradually increasing the spacing between the

Section 1.2. Geophysical Techniques

Page 4

current/potential electrodes in order to increase the dept h of investigation. The data collected are converted to apparent resistivity readings that can then be modelled in order to provide information on the thickness of individual resistivity units within the subsurface. The limitations of the resistivity technique include the more difficult interpretation in the presence of complex geology and the existence of natural currents and potentials.

1.2.4 Magnetic Method

Magnetic techniques measure disturbances in the Earth’s na tural magnetic field. These disturbances are caused by ferromagnetic materials, either magnetic rocks (usually bedrock) or man made objects containing iron or steel. The method makes use of a moving magnetometer over an area which measures the Earth’s magnetic field. No contact with the ground is required, so large areas can be covered with relative speed. The result of the survey is a magnetic map and profiles.

The method is used extensively in environmental applications to locate ferrous underground storage tanks, drums and other objects. It is also used in oil and gas exploration. It is also used in archaeological applications to locate ceramics and fibre pits and in various applications where the bedrock needs to be mapped. The primary limitation of this method is its inability to locate non-ferrous objects such as plastic or unreinforced concrete.

1.2.5 Gravity Method

Gravity techniques measure minute variations in the Earth’s gravity field. Based on these variations, subsurface density and thereby composition can be inferred. In gravity survey, the measurements, which are made by means of a gravity meter, are influenced by factors such as elevation, terrain, instrumental drift, Earth tides and the centrifugal force of the Earth’s rotation. The gravity map and profile obtained from the survey is used to create a model of the subsurface.

This technique finds useful applications in groundwater investigations to map bedrock, and also in geotechnical investigations to map bedrock and detect void s. It is also used in the exploration for oil and gas, regional and detailed geological studies.

1.2.6 Ground-penetrating Radar

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a high resolution geophysical method for investigating underground structure. It uses a system which comprises of an antenna uni t, control console, display monitor and graphic printer. The antenna unit is in direct ground contact with the remaining equipment which are vehicle-mounted. This method is very useful for its accuracy in detecting hidden voids. Clear information is provided about the presence of subsurface voids, often at a fraction of the cost of traditional intrusive methods. These voids if not discovered could be an hindrance to construction work and could cause extensive damages to roads. The method is also used for mappi ng of subsurface soil, rock interfaces, and buried archaeological structures.

Section 1.3. General Uses of Geophysical Methods

Page 5

1.2.7 Self-potential Method

This method makes use of small currents which are naturally produced beneath the Earth’s surface. The Self-potential or Spontaneous-potential (SP) geophysical method measures the potential difference produced by the currents, between any two points on the ground surface. This method is passive, non-intrusive and does not require the application of an electrical current, unlike the resistivity imaging method. The method is mainly used for exploration of massive sulphide ore bodies, finding leaks in canal embankments, defining zones and plumes of contaminants, etc. More details will be presented in the next chapter.

1.2.8 Induced Polarization

This is actually a time based survey method. It involves meas urement of the magnitude of the polar- isation voltage (V p ) that results from the injection of pulsed current into the ground. The current is applied, with the polarisation voltage being measured over a series of time intervals after each current cut-off using non-polarising electrodes. The measured value of V p is divided by the steady voltage to give the apparent chargeability of the ground. This gives qualitative information on the subsurface geology. The method is primarily used in mineral exploration surveys. More details will be presented in the next chapter.

1.3 General Uses of Geophysical Methods

Geophysical methods find a very wide range of application. They are often used in combination. i.e. for efficiency, we may use two or more methods to be able to get accurate results. Thus the search for metalliferous mineral deposits often utilises air borne ma gnetic and electromagnetic surveying. Other uses of geophysical methods include

Exploration for underground water supplies which includes electrical resistivity, seismic, gravity and ground-penetrating radar surveying.

Exploration for fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal which includes simultaneous seismic, gravity, magnetic and electromagnetic methods.

Exploration for metals used in atomic energy plant.

Routine reconnaissance of continental shelf areas which involves simultaneous seismic, gravity, magnetic and electromagnetic methods.

Investigation of engineering and construction sites which involves the simultaneous use of electrical resistivity, seismic, gravity and magnetic surveying.

Archaeological investigations which includes simultaneous electrical resistivity, electromagnetic, magnetic, seismic and ground-penetrating radar surveys.

2.

An Overview of the Basic Electrical and

Electromagnetic Methods

In geophysical exploration, the electrical and electromagnetic methods are used almost exclusively in prospecting for ore deposits and in site investigation for engineering purposes. Although the depth of penetration of some electrical and electromagnetic method s is usually too shallow, the telluric prospect- ing technique and the newly discovered sea bed logging technique which is an example of a CSEM (Controlled Source Electromagnetic Method), has been used to penetrate depths where oil and gas are normally found.

Apart from oil and gas prospecting and site investigation, the electrical and electromagnetic methods also have other range of applications, and case histories. The case histories will not be discussed as it

is beyond the scope of this work, however we shall highlight s ome of the applications.

The electrical and electromagnetic methods may be broadly grouped into those which involve the measurement of the natural electrical and electromagnetic fields in the Earth and those in which we measure the effects of artificially applied fields. We shall cl assify these as Natural field methods and Artificial field methods.

2.1 Natural Field Methods

2.1.1 Self-potential Method

As implied in the previous chapter, this process involves pl acing of two non-polarising electrodes some distance apart, on the ground. It has been observed that due to local electrochemical action in the ground, small electrical currents are generated and these will flow between the two electrodes, creating

a potential difference. The self (spontaneous) potential method ranks as the cheapest of the surface

geophysical methods in terms of equipment required, and among the simplest to operate in the field

[Rey97].

Small potentials are produced by the flow of electrolytic flui ds (streaming potentials) through porous

materials and by two electrolytic solutions of differing concentrations being in direct contact (diffusion potentials). Larger potentials are produced by conductive mineralised ore bodies that are partially immersed below the water. The potentials are normally of the order of a few millivolts, rising up to

a several hundred millivolts in the presence of metallic sul phide ore-bodies and graphite deposits. The

result of this survey is a profile which will, if there is no int erference from irregularities of the surface, show a noticeable dip over the orebody.

The self-potential method has geothermal applications, where streaming potentials may be measured as a result of the mobility of water bodies which have differing temperatures and salinity. The method can also be used in locating massive sulphide ore bodies, det ecting leaks in Earth dam embankments and also in hydrogeology for ground-water borehole testing and detecting sites of leakages associated with man-made and natural dams.

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Section 2.1. Natural Field Methods

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2.1.2 AFMAG Method

AFMAG is an acronym for Audio-Frequency MAGnetic fields. It i s classified as an electromagnetic method. This method is well suitable for airborne use, although it could be used on ground. In between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere, thunderstorm activities causes the production of pulses of natural electromagnetic waves. These propagating waves are the AFM AGS, and their direction of propagation is normally in a strictly horizontal plane but in a vague direction in azimuth. The frequency range of these waves is between 1 and 1000Hz. In the presence of a conducting body, the waves dip down from the horizontal and assume a more definite direction in azimuth [Dun70].

The basic principle of this method is to measure the tilt of the plane of polarization of the audio-frequency fields. The azimuth is first found to a reasonable accuracy or degree. The tilt is then calculated along the azimuth, as an angle of dip to a very high degree of accuracy. These dips in the wave propagation direction are registered as unequal induced voltages in the detecting coils. They are then recorded on a profile, where analysis of the profile can reveal the size and l ocation of the conducting orebody. Being an example of an electromagnetic method, a few details is sti ll presented in the next chapter.

2.1.3 Telluric/Magnetotelluric Field Method

Due to the variations in the Earth’s magnetic field and the various ionospheric electrical activity taking place in the atmosphere, magnetotelluric fields are generat ed which produces telluric currents that fluctuate and oscillate. They are in fact natural Earth currents and they flow everywhere along the surface of the Earth in large sheets, which extend well into the Earth’s crust. The resistivity of the formations carrying the currents will determine the distribution of the current density within the sheets. This factor helps to locate possible salt domes. The telluric method used to be the only electromagnetic/electrical method which is capable of penetrating depths where oil may b e located until CSEM was discovered very recently. A major difficulty of the telluric method was ha ving to distinguish between the potentials set up by the Earth currents and the polarization caused by electrochemical action at the electrodes.

The magnetotelluric method is a new application of the telluric method where the magnetic fields in- duced by the variations in Earth currents is being measured a long with the variation in voltage between the electrodes at the surface [Dob60]. In other words, both t he electric and magnetic fields are mea- sured in this method, hence providing more information on subsurface structure [KB84]. From these measurements, appropriate estimates can be made of the absolute resistivity and thickness of rocks to a very great depth. The depth z of penetration of a magnetotelluric field depends on the frequency of the field and the density of the subsurface bodies. It has been shown that depth penetration increases with a decrease in frequency as shown from the equation below.

z = k

ρ

f

1

2

(2.1)

where k is a constant, f is the frequency of the field, and ρ is the density of the subsurface.

Magnetotelluric methods yield conductivity information f rom much greater depths than artificial source induction methods. It has been applied in the search for petroleum and deep zones of mineralization in the upper crust [Low97].

Section 2.2. Artificial Field Methods

Page 8

2.2 Artificial Field Methods

2.2.1 Equipotential-line Method

This method involves the application of a voltage into the ground via two current electrodes which are fixed during the survey. If the conductivity of the ground is uniform, the current produced by the induced voltage will flow uniformly and follow a regular pattern similar to the lines of force around a bar magnet. If however, a body having a different conductivity to its surroundings is interposed in the

current flow, the lines of flow are distorted, either away from the body if its conductivity is lower or towards it if it is higher [Dun70]. Lines having equal potentials (equipotential lines) will also be distorted

in the presence of a body of contrasting conductivity. If a probe (search electrodes) is placed on any of

these equipotential lines, no current will flow between them. This property is used to locate the lines.

The equipotential lines must always be perpendicular to the lines of current flow, since no component of the current at any point can flow along the equipotential line at that point [Dob60].

The equipotential-line method helps in locating highly conductive orebodies, and it ranks as the simplest artificial field method in terms of field procedure and the equi pments involved. Interpretation of the data obtained from its survey is mainly qualitative as it only reveals the nature of the geologic body without much information about its geometry. A major limita tion of this method is that, although it helps to reveal ore bodies which may be concealed by overburd en, it does not give information about the depth of those bodies.

2.2.2 Resistivity Method

This is one of the most widely used electrical method. The met hod exploits the large contrast in resistivity between orebodies and their host rocks, especially for minerals that occur as good conductors [Low97]. Its principle is very simple, as it involves a measurement of potential difference across electrodes, after

a direct current or a low frequency alternating current has b een injected into the Earth by means of

current electrodes. What is actually measured is the apparent resistivity since the resistivity values are

averages over the total current path length. In most cases the analysis and interpretation also involve the use of a computer. The resistivity of the subsurface is then a function of the magnitude of the current, the recorded potential difference, and the geometry of the electrode array.

The interpretation of the resistivity data actually entails a plotting of the data as 1-D sounding or profiling curves, or in 2-D cross-section in order to observe regions where there is an anomaly. The spacing of the electrodes can take different methods, which i n most cases involves the placement of the potential electrodes between the current electrodes. I n all cases, irrespective of the configuration or method used, the same ground will always give the same physical properties.

The resistivity method is useful for simultaneously detect ing lateral and vertical changes in subsurface

electrical properties. It is also a useful technique in envi ronmental applications. For example, due to the good electrical conductivity of groundwater, the resistiv ity of a sedimentary rock is much lower when it

is waterlogged than in the dry state [Low97]. Details such as the basic principles of the method, modes

of deployment, and types of configuration used, will be discussed in the next chapter.

Section 2.2. Artificial Field Methods

Page 9

2.2.3 Induced Polarisation

If an electric current is introduced into the Earth via ground electrodes, it sets up a potential difference. When the current is suddenly cut off, a small current continues to flow for a very short period of time. This effect is associated with electrochemical actions taki ng place in the Earth, and it arises at the surfaces of buried metallic sulphide orebodies. It should b e noted that induced polarisation involves the use of a variable low frequency A.C source, unlike in resisti vity method, where a D.C source is used.

The operational procedure of the Induced Polarization (IP) method is similar to the resistivity method, as it also employs the same electrode configurations. However, the most effective ones are the double- dipole and Schlumberger electrode configurations. The meas urements are fraught with certain errors or anomalies (noise) which may be due to telluric currents, a nd electromagnetic coupling between measuring equipments like the wires, where current can be in duced on another wire as a result of the shorter distance of separation between the two wires (Ampere’s law).

Induced polarization may be time-domain, where controlled current signals are introduced into the ground through the two current electrodes, and the overvolt age between the signals is measured across the two potential electrodes. It could also be frequency domain, where the alternating current fed into the ground depends on frequency. It makes use of the principl e that, when an alternating current is passed into the ground, the apparent resistivity of rocks in which polarisation can be induced is higher with low-frequency current than with higher-frequency current. This is because the capacitance of the ground inhibits the passage of direct currents but transmits alternating currents with increasing efficiency as the frequency rises [KB84].

The IP method is extensively used in the detection of dissemi nated metals. This is as a result of its efficiency in locating low-grade ore deposits. Under certain conditions, the IP method could also be used for buried waste characterisation, fault and fracture delineation, ionic contaminant plume delineation, and the mapping of sand and gravel deposits.

2.2.4 Electromagnetic Method

The electromagnetic techniques have the widest range of diff erent instrumental systems. The main principle used is the response of the ground to the propagati on of the electromagnetic fields which are composed of alternating electric intensity and magnetic force. It has been observed that a conductor present in the subsurface will respond to an incoming primary electromagnetic field from a transmitter, the field will set up eddy currents on the conductor , which wil l in turn generate a secondary electro- magnetic field. It is the resultant of this secondary field and the primary field above the subsurface, that is detected by the receiver on the surface or on air depending on the system being used. The observed differences between the transmitted and received electroma gnetic fields provide information about the nature and electrical properties of the conducting body. This method does not necessarily require the physical contact of the receiver and transmitter with the ground unlike the resistivity method. Just as resistivity is measured in the resistivity method, apparen t conductivity of the ground is what is measured by EM systems.

Electromagnetic methods in common use today fall into two cl asses: those using a stationary source and those using a mobile source. They can also be classified as either time domain (TDEM) whose mea- surements are as a function of time, or frequency domain (FDEM) which uses one or more frequencies. However, for geophysical applications, frequencies of the primary alternating field are usually less than a few thousand Hertz. TDEM, which could be either airborne, ground-based or borehole-based, has similar

Section 2.2. Artificial Field Methods

Page 10

applications to FDEM. The advantages of TDEM over FDEM lies i n its ability to determine depths and map much deeper features. However, TDEM surveys are not as ra pid as FDEM and thus large areas can not be mapped as economically. Another mode of classifica tion involves the property which is being measured. For instance, some systems measure the dip/tilt a ngle, while others measure the phase angle between primary and secondary waves. The AFMAG method which has been discussed above makes use of the tilt angle method; the other technique using this method is the very low frequency (VLF), although this makes use of artificially generated electroma gnetic field.

A great advantage of the electromagnetic methods is that they can be successfully applied even when

conductive ground connections indispensable for the elect rical methods cannot be made owing to highly

resistive (or insulating) surface formations [Par62]. The electromagnetic methods also have a wide range

of application. More emphasis on the method and its comparison with the resistivity method, will be

presented in the next chapter

3.

Basis for Comparing Resistivity and

Electromagnetic Method

The electrical resistivity method involves the measuremen t of the apparent resistivity of soils and rock as a function of porosity, permeability, ionic content of the p ore fluids, and clay mineralization. The method is mainly used in hydrogeologic and environmental investigations. As briefly explained in the previous chapters, during resistivity surveys, current is injected into the Earth via a pair of current electrodes, and the potential difference is measured between a pair of pot ential electrodes. The observed data is used to compute the apparent resistivity, which also depends on the type of configuration used. More sophisticated software has been created to interprete the v ariation of resistivity with depth by using a forward and inverse modelling method. Two main techniques used in electrical resistivity survey are the vertical electrical sounding technique and the resistivity profiling method.

On the other hand, the electromagnetic method which has a very wide range of applications, can be grouped as either frequency domain methods or time domain methods. Electromagnetic Induction, EM utility location detection methods, very low frequency (VLF), are all frequency domain methods. These methods could either be airborne, ground based, marine based or borehole methods. In any case, as discussed previously, the basic principle of these methods is the response of a detector to surrounding electromagnetic waves, which may have been generated artifi cially or naturally and which are responded to by subsurface bodies having some magnetic and electrical properties.

In this chapter, we want to compare the resistivity method as a singular electrical method, with the variety of the electromagnetic methods. To do this, we shall attempt to revisit the basic principles of Physics on which both methods depend. We shall also look at some fundamental concepts in both methods. The field work, data collection procedure and interpretation methods will also form a basis for comparison.

3.1 Basic principle of resistivity of materials and current flow

The resistivity of a material is defined as the resistance in O hms between the opposite faces of a unit cube of the material [KB84]. Consider a conducting body (e.g. a uniform cylinder) of resistance δR , length δL and cross-sectional area δA (Figure 3.1)[KB84].

The resistivity ρ of the body is given by

ρ =

δRδA

δL

(3.1)

where R is in Ohms (), A, the area in metre-squared(m 2 ) and L is the length(m ). The S.I. unit of resistivity is the Ohm-metre (m ), while its inverse (σ = 1 ρ ) gives the conductivity of the material, so that

σ =

δL

δRδA

(3.2)

The S.I. unit of conductivity is the Siemens(S ) per metre : 1Sm 1 = 1Ω 1 m 1 .

According to Ohm’s law, when a current I flows through a conducting body, it sets up a potential

11

Section 3.2. Conduction of electric currents in materials

Page 12

I δL δA δR δV
I
δL
δA
δR
δV

Figure 3.1: The parameters used in defining resistivity

difference V between the ends of the body and they are related by

I = V R

(3.3)

where R is the resistance of the body. By comparing equations (3.1), (3.2) and (3.3), we find that

I = AV ρL

(3.4)

I

Since V is the potential gradient or electric field strength E and A is the current density J , we can write equation (3.4) as

L

E = ρJ

(3.5)

Provided the dimension of the conductor is known and the electric field introduced is also known, the resistivity of the conductor can be deduced. Resistivity is one of the most variable physical properties ranging from a smaller value of 1.6 × 10 8 m for native silver to 10 16 m for pure sulphur.

3.2 Conduction of electric currents in materials

Depending on the nature of a material, conduction of electri c currents could either be by an electrolytic process or by electronic process. For example, metals and cr ystals conduct electricity through the passage of electrons (electronic process), whereas in liqu ids, conduction is mainly by the electrolytic process. In metals, electrons are loosely bound and they are in the conduction band, so that when an electric field is applied, they move with a much smaller drift velocity in the direction of the field. This drift velocity V d is given by

V d =

E

ρne

(3.6)

where E is the applied electric field, ρ is the resistivity of the material, n is the number of conduction electrons, and e = 1.602 × 10 19 Coulombs is the charge on an electron.

The implication of equation (3.6) is that a material with a low resistivity will give rise to frequent collisions of the electrons, thereby increasing their drif t velocity. For an Insulator, which has no free

Section 3.3. Potential distribution in a homogeneous Earth

Page 13

electrons, the atoms of the material acquires an electric polarisation and therefore behaves like an electric dipole placed in an electric field. Conduction is extremely l ow in insulators [Ogh07].

However, what is found mainly in the subsurface are rock-forming minerals and it has been shown that these minerals, being insulators, conduct electric curren t also by the electrolytic process and the carriers of this current are the ions present in pore waters within the minerals.

In order to effectively determine the resistivity of a rock or rock-forming mineral, porosity ϕ (amount of groundwater in the rock) is a major factor which must be considered. Other factors which must be considered include the level of water saturation (S ), resistivity of the saturated water (ρ w ) and the type and quantity of the dissolved minerals and salts in the water. An empirical formula to actually determine the resistivity of a rock based on the aforementioned parameters was given by Archie(1942) and it is referred to as Archie’s law. It states that resistivity ρ is given by

ρ = w ϕ m S n

(3.7)

where 0 < ϕ < 1; 0 < S < 1; 0.5 < a < 2.5; n 2 while m varies between 1.3 and 2.5. ρ w varies according to the type and quantity of the dissolved minerals and salts in the water.

In terms of resistivity, Igneous rocks such as granite, diorite and gabbro have the highest resistivities while Sedimentary rocks such as shale and sandstone have a lower resistivity compared to Igneous rocks; this is due to the high fluid content in them. Metamorphic rocks on the other hand have intermediate but overlapping resistivities. Table 3.1 shows some common rock types and their resistivity values.

Table 3.1: Common rock types and their resistivity ranges

Rock type Clay Approximate resistivity range(Ω m ) 10 0 − 10 1 1 Alluvium
Rock type
Clay
Approximate resistivity range(Ω m )
10 0 − 10 1
1
Alluvium
10
1
Shale
10
− 10 3
− 10 4
Sandstone
10 0 − 10 9
1
Quartzite
10
1
Schist
10
− 10 8
− 10 4
Gabbro
10 3 − 10 6
Granite
10 2 − 10 6

3.3 Potential distribution in a homogeneous Earth

Let us consider a homogeneous Earth of resistivity ρ. A single current electrode placed on the surface of the Earth will produce a radial flow of current I away from the electrode so that the current distribution is uniform over hemispherical shells of increasing radius r centred on the source (see Figure 3.2).

As shown in Figure 3.2, lines of equal potential (equipotential lines) intersect the lines of equal currents at right angles. Since the potential decreases in the direct ion of current flow, the potential gradient dV

is negative.

dr

Section 3.3. Potential distribution in a homogeneous Earth

Page 14

I ρ r equipotential dV current surface flow line
I
ρ
r
equipotential
dV
current
surface
flow
line

Figure 3.2: Current flow from a single current electrode

According to Ohm’s law and from equation (3.1),

dV Iρ

dr

= 2πr 2

(3.8)

On integration, we get for the potential V (r ) at a distance r from a point current source,

V (r ) =

ρI

2πr

(3.9)

Since there must be two current electrodes for a resistivity survey, the contribution of the other electrode (the negative current electrode) is given by

V (r ) = 2πr ρI

(3.10)

where r is the distance from the negative current electrode.

The total potential V at any point is therefore a superposition of potentials due to both current electrodes i.e.

V = V (r ) + V (r )

=

ρI 2π 1

r r 1

(3.11)

The above equation (3.11) gives the total potential due to one potential electrode at a point within the subsurface. If we now consider the other potential electrode, the same principle also applies in finding the potential at a point due to it. In effect, one cannot easily determine absolute potentials, so what we need to measure is the potential difference. To simplify th is, consider Figure 3.3.

In Figure 3.3, A and B are the current electrodes; M and N are the potential electrodes. The potential V M at the electrode M, from equation (3.11), is given by

V M

=

ρI

2π

1

r

A

1 B

r

while the potential V N at electrode N is also given by

V N

=

ρI

2π

1

R

A

1 B

R

(3.12)

(3.13)

Section 3.4. Field procedure: configuration and method

Page 15

I r r A B current potential electrode electrode ∆ V + I − I
I
r
r
A
B
current
potential
electrode
electrode
V
+
I
I
A
M
N
B

Ground

R A

R B

Figure 3.3: The generalised form of the electrode configurat ion used in resistivity measurements

We require the potential difference between both electrodes , so we get

Therefore

V

ρ

= V M V N

=

ρI

2π

1

r

A

1

r

B

1

R

A

R

 

2πI 1 V

 

1

1

 

1

1

r

A

r B

R

A

R B

B

1

=

(3.14)

(3.15)

What is actually measured in equation (3.15) is the apparent resistivity ρ a , and as it implies, it depends on the mode of spacing of the electrodes. The equation also implies that when the ground is uniform, the resistivity should be constant and will not depend on the surface location or electrode spacing. Generally, the potential electrodes are placed between the two current electrodes.

The distance penetrated by the current increases with increase in the separation between the current electrodes. the depth of investigation is generally 20% to 40% of the outer electrode spacing, depending on the Earth resistivity structure. In equation (3.15), the denominator on the right hand side is usually called the geometric factor , as it is different for various electrode spreads or configura tions.

3.4 Field procedure: configuration and method

Resistivity surveys can take different forms of arrangement of the current and potential electrodes. In most cases, there are always two current electrodes and two p otential electrodes. Normally the potential electrodes are placed between the current electrodes. We sh all consider three different kinds of electrode arrangements. These are the Schlumberger configuration, Wenner configuration and the Double-dipole configuration. A major difference between all three configura tions is the spacing between the current and potential electrodes. Suppose the potential electrodes are M and N, while the current electrodes are A and B, Figure 3.4 shows the various electrode configurations.

Section 3.4. Field procedure: configuration and method

Page 16

I I r r r A r A B B ∆ V ∆ V A
I
I
r
r
r A
r
A
B
B
V
V
A
M
N
B
A M
N
B
a
a
a
a
L
R
R
R
R
A
B
A
B
Wenner Array
Schlumberger Array
I
V
A
B
M
N
a
a

L

Double−dipole Array

Figure 3.4: The various electrode configurations: Wenner, S chlumberger, Double-dipole

In the Wenner arrangement, each potential electrode is separated from the adjacent current electrode by a distance a which is one-third the separation of the current electrodes . For this arrangement, equation (3.15) becomes

ρ a = 2πa V

I

(3.16)

In the Schlumberger arrangement, the spacing between the potential electrodes a is fixed, and is less than the separation between the current electrodes L which is progressively increased during survey. By making reference to Figure 3.4, the apparent resistivity according to equation (3.15) becomes

ρ a =

π

V (L 2 a 2 )

4 I

a

However, for most cases, L 2 >> a 2 , hence

ρ a =

πL 2 V

4Ia

(3.17)

(3.18)

The Double-dipole configuration is not very frequently used as it requires more electric current for its operation than the Wenner and Schlumberger. Also from Figure 3.4, the apparent resistivity in this case according to equation (3.15) is given as

ρ a = π V

I

L (L 2 a 2 )

a

2

(3.19)

Section 3.5. Resistivity data interpretation

Page 17

There are two main types of procedures used during a resistivity survey, depending on the objective of the survey. These procedures are the Vertical electrical sounding (VES) and the Constant separation traversing (CST). In most surveys, both procedures are empl oyed and could be used with either the Schlumberger or the Wenner configuration.

Vertical electrical sounding (VES) is used for the purpose of determining the vertical variation of resis- tivity. The current and potential electrodes are maintained at the same relative spacing and the whole spread is progressively expanded about a fixed central point [KB84]. Since the aim of investigation is the depth, the Schlumberger configuration is commonly used f or VES investigations, as increase in the current electrode separation creates more penetration and hence reaches more depth.

Constant separation traversing (CST), also known as horizontal or electrical profiling method is used for determining the horizontal or lateral variation of resistivity. The current and potential electrodes are maintained at a fixed separation and progressively moved along a profile [KB84]. The Wenner configuration is well adapted to this method.

Some of the equipments required in a resistivity survey incl ude a power source to produce the current, tape rule for measurement of length, electrodes (current and potential), cables, crocodile clip for fixing

cables to electrodes, hammer for fixing the electrodes in the ground, water to enhance conduction and the Terameter which is the main equipment in the survey as it s ends the signal, receives incoming signals, and calculates the resistance . A typical resistivity survey requires at least three people for speed and efficiency of the work. Suppose we are conducting a VES using the Schlumberger configuration, two people will be needed to measure the distances, lay the cables and electrodes, and also be in charge

of increasing the current electrode distance. The other person will remain with the terameter taking

measurements, and also increasing the potential electrode distance when the voltages are too small to

be measured.

3.5 Resistivity data interpretation

Both the data obtained from a vertical electrical sounding and constant separation traversing technique can be interpreted using several methods. In both methods, what is actually recorded is the resistance, which is used to compute the apparent resistivity depending on the configuration employed. A typical data shows the various current and potential electrode distances, resistance and apparent resistivity for several stations.

A plot of the apparent resistivity against electrode spacing (on a bi-logarithmic paper) can be used to

indicate vertical variations in resistivity. The curve obt ained is then used to obtain the parameters of the geoelectrical section i.e. the thickness, depth and resist ivities of the layers present therein. It is possible

to obtain a similarity in the result for different sections. The interpretation is done by comparing the

field curve with some theoretical curves, otherwise known as Master Curves. A set of auxiliary curves are also used with the Master curves during interpretation. These could either be two-layer curves or three-layer curves.

The process of comparing the field curve with theoretical fiel d curves is known as Partial Curve Matching. This process involves finding a near perfect match of the field curve with one of the theoretical field curves. The first step is to obtain ρ 1 and thickness h 1 , from the perfect or near perfect match and the

corresponding k value shown on the Master curve, such that ρ 2 ρ 1 1 = k . This will give the resistivity of

ρ 2 + ρ

the second layer. The process is repeated for the subsequent layers thus obtaining ρ 2 , h 2 , ρ 3 e.t.c.

Section 3.6. Electromagnetic method

Page 18

Partial curve matching interpretation depends on the shape of the curve, which also depends on the number of individual layers. For a three layer Earth model, there are four types of resistivity curves which depend on the relative magnitudes of the resistivities. Hence, we have

A-type(ρ 1 < ρ 2 < ρ 3 ); K-type(ρ 2 > ρ 3 > ρ 1 ); H-type(ρ 1 > ρ 2 < ρ 3 ); Q-type(ρ 1 > ρ 2 > ρ 3 )

Now, when there are four layers with different resistivities on a field curve, the curves are represented by different letters. Hence, we have

HK-type (ρ 1 > ρ 2 < ρ 3 > ρ 4 ); HA-type (ρ 1 > ρ 2 < ρ 3 < ρ 4 ); AK-type (ρ 1 < ρ 2 < ρ 3 > ρ 4 )

KH-type (ρ 1 < ρ 2 > ρ 3 < ρ 4 ); QQ-type (ρ 1 > ρ 2 > ρ 3 > ρ 4 )

Another method for interpreting a resistivity data, is the Computer aided iteration technique. In this case, trial values of the layer parameters are guessed, checked with a computed apparent resistivity curve, and adjusted to make the field and computed curves agree. The process will be much faster if the initial guess is guided by a semiquantitative comparison with two- and three-layer curves. Computer programs have been written by several commercial software companies for the use of this method to obtain the layer parameters automatically by iteration, starting with an initial estimate obtained by an approximate method [Ogh07].

The observed values of the resistivity and thickness obtained from the interpretation will give an idea of the kind of rock present in the subsurface, and hence a model of the surface can be prepared. The modelled results are displayed as scaled resistivity-dept h pseudosections with different colours. Normally, Blues represent areas of low resistivity while reds are rela tively higher.

Apart from the errors which may occur in the field measurement s, certain errors occur during interpre- tation. The problem of equivalent models occurs since the thickness and resistivity cannot be derived independently, hence two different profiles may yield the same model, prompting the geophysicist to choose the model which best agrees with the known geological structures of the ground. Another pos- sible interpretation error is the problem of suppression. This occurs for the A-type and Q-type curves. Sometimes, the middle intermediate layer may not be evident on the field curve. Also the effect of a fault cannot be seen on an apparent resistivity curve and this may cause one to interprete a one-layer curve as a two-layer curve.

3.6 Electromagnetic method

Among all the geophysical methods, the electromagnetic techniques have the broadest range of different instrumental systems of any, matched by the remarkable range of applications to which these methods are being applied [Rey97]. As briefly discussed in the previous chapter, the electromagnetic methods basically work on the principle of electromagnetic inducti on. An alternating magnetic field in a coil or cable induces electric currents in a good conductor. This current, which are called eddy-currents, in turn produces secondary magnetic fields that are superposed on the primary field and can be measured at the ground surface [Low97].

Due to the principle of induction, the EM methods could either be ground-based (where either or both transmitter and receiver are on ground), airborne (either or both transmitter and receiver are in air), seaborne (either or both transmitter and receiver are on sea ), or borehole-based in which both the transmitter and receiver are placed in a hole dug in the Earth.

Section 3.6. Electromagnetic method

Page 19

Generally, the electromagnetic methods/systems can be cla ssified as Time-domain which makes mea- surements as a function of time or Frequency-domain which ma kes use of one or more frequencies. Both “domains” may either involve a passive method (where a natural electromagnetic field/ground signals is required) or an active method (where an artificial field is required). When the transmitter is close to the receiver, it is called a “near-field” method and when they are very far apart, it is called

a “far-field” method. Figure 3.5 shows a diagrammatic representation of the classification of the EM systems/method being discussed.

Electromagnetic

Methods

EM systems/method being discussed. Electromagnetic Methods near field (e.g. ground conductivity meter) active

near field (e.g. ground conductivity meter)

active

(artificial

transmitter)

ground conductivity meter) active (artificial transmitter) TDEM FDEM far field (e.g. VLF method) passive (natural

TDEM ground conductivity meter) active (artificial transmitter) FDEM far field (e.g. VLF method) passive (natural

FDEMconductivity meter) active (artificial transmitter) TDEM far field (e.g. VLF method) passive (natural field/ground

far field

(e.g. VLF method)

passivetransmitter) TDEM FDEM far field (e.g. VLF method) (natural field/ground signals) Figure 3.5: Classification

(natural field/ground signals)

Figure 3.5: Classification of EM methods

All the above mentioned classifications can also be grouped i nto

methods in which transmitter is stationary and receiver is mobile

methods in which transmitter as well as receiver is mobile

In

order to clearly understand the various kinds of electromagnetic methods and systems commonly used

in

geophysical exploration, we shall highlight some basic concepts and definitions.

Electromagnetic Waves : An electromagnetic wave consist of an electric field compon ent (E) orthogonal to a magnetic field component (B ), in a plane perpendicular to the direction of travel. An electromag- netic field can be generated by passing an alternating current through either a small coil comprising of many turns of wire or a large loop of wire [Rey97]. In the EM method, it is the magnetic field component of the EM wave which induces eddy current on a conductor in the subsurface according to Faraday’s Law of EM induction. The secondary field generated by these eddy currents (Ampere’s Law) are then received alongside the primary field travelling through the air, by the receiver. The resultant effect of both fields give useful information on the nature of t he subsurface.

Polarisation: If we consider the primary EM field P as a vector and the secondary EM field S as another vector, their resultant R will also be a vector making an angle α with P . In most surveys, it is the angle θ this resultant makes with the horizontal, that is measured. Since R varies continuously in magnitude and direction, as a vector, its tip describes an ellipse known as the “ellipse of polarisation” which also makes an angle θ (called the tilt angle) with the horizontal [Rey97].

Depth of penetration (Skin depth) : This involves the extent in depth to which an electromagnet ic ra- diation may penetrate the Earth surface. The depth of penetration largely depends on the frequency of the wave and the conductivity of the media present through which the EM radiation is to travel.

Section 3.7. Continuous-wave electromagnetic systems

Page 20

The Skin depth is defined (Sheriff 1991) as the depth at which the amplitude of a plane wave has decreased to 1 e or 37% relative to its initial amplitude A 0 [Rey97]. It is not the maximum depth of penetration of the magnetic field. Mathematically, the skin depth δ (in metres) is given by

δ

= ωσµ

2

(3.20)

where ω = 2πf and f is the frequency in Hz, σ is the conductivity of the media in S/m., and µ is the magnetic permeability (usually 1).

Equation (3.20) shows that the depth of penetration decreases with a decrease in resistivity and an increase in frequency.

3.7 Continuous-wave electromagnetic systems

Continuous-wave EM systems may be regarded as the frequency dependent systems. They come in diverse forms depending on the relative positions of the tra nsmitter and receiver. In most of these systems, it is the resultant effect of the primary and secondary wave which is being measured, however, some methods may still be distinguished. One of such methods is the Tilt-angle method.

The Tilt-angle method method involves the measurement of the angle of tilt or dip angle of the resultant

of the applied primary field and the induced secondary field arising from a buried conductive body, such as

a buried massive sulphide orebody [Rey97]. This method is used in both ground and airborne surveys,

mainly for mineral exploration. The tilt angle is actually the angle the resultant field vector makes with the primary field vector. During a survey, the tilt angle may change from a positive value to a negative value in the presence of a conductive body. The point at which the tilt angle is zero is called the “crossover point”, and it is the point directly above the body, where the resultant, primary and secondary fields are all horizontal and parallel to each other. There are a number of EM techniques which simply measure spatial variations in this tilt-angle [KB84]. Two principal techniques which make use of this method are the VLF and AFMAG (see section 2.1.2).

While AFMAG requires a natural field, VLF requires an artificially generated field from transmitters operating in the low frequency band of 15 25kHz. The VLF receiver first determines the direction of

the field from the transmitter, and then traverses are performed over the survey area at right angles to this direction. The property that a conductor will lie below the positions of zero tilt, as measured by the receiver, is used in the interpretation of the VLF data. Although the advantage of this method is that

it is very easy to operate and there is no need to install a transmitter, however for a particular survey

area, there may be no suitable transmitter providing the required field necessary to cause a noticeable change in the tilt angles, hence making it hard to detect a conducting body. Another disadvantage is that the depth of penetration is somewhat less than that atta inable by tilt-angle methods using a local transmitter [KB84].

Other examples of electromagnetic methods which will not be discussed in this section are the Ground- penetrating radar (GPR) and Telluric/Magneto-telluric methods, as they have been briefly discussed in sections 1.2.6 and 2.1.3 respectively.

We shall classify the continuous wave systems as either fixed -source systems or moving-source systems.

Section 3.7. Continuous-wave electromagnetic systems

Page 21

3.7.1 Fixed-source systems

When the source is fixed and the receiver is mobile, depending on what is being observed, there are two methods/systems under this category and these are

the Sundberg method in which the primary magnetic field from a large loop of wire or long grounded cable, is inclined towards the ground causing an interference between it and the secondary magnetic field due to a conducting body. The receiver then mea sures the resultant field and the gradient of the secondary magnetic field which is displayed a s a profile to reveal the position of the conducting body. A major factor which affects measurement is topography where the source and receiver may be at different elevations due to the rough na ture of the surface.

the Turam method in which two receiver coils are used. The coils are placed at a fixed distance (c) apart and are moved perpendicular to the source wire from one station to another where the phase (α) and amplitude (v ) of the vertical component of the secondary field is measured

by each of the receivers. The ratio of the amplitudes at each s uccessive pair of stations (e.g.

) and the horizontal gradient of the phases ((α 2 α 1 )/c, (α 3 α 2 )/c, (α 4

) are plotted at the location of the midpoint between the coil s along the profile [Rey97].

If p is the amplitude of the primary wave which reduces as the receiver moves away from the source, its ratio also changes along the profile and when combined with that of the secondary, we

). The reduced ratios and

horizontal gradient of phase are often used to plot a Turam profile. The problem of topography

v 1 /v 2 , v 2 /v 3 , v 3 /v 4 ,

α 3 )/c,

obtain the reduced ratios (RR)

(v 1 p 2 /v 2 p 1 , v 2 p 3 /v 3 p 2 , v 3 p 4 /v 4 p 3 ,

also affects this method.

3.7.2 Moving-source systems

These are systems in which both the source (a coil) and receiv er (coil) are mobile during survey. The source is connected to the receiver by means of a cable and the distance between them is fixed. They also vary in terms of their frequency dependence. During survey, the point of reference is the midpoint of the coil separation and what is actually measured is quadrature component only or both the quadrature and in-phase components of the secondary electromagnetic fi eld.

The ground conductivity meter (GCM) is an example of a moving-source system which measures both the quadrature and in-phase components. The quadrature component is measured in terms of the apparent conductivity σ a of the ground, while the in-phase components is measured in parts per thou- sand. The true conductivity of subsurface bodies will contribute to the measured apparent conductivity value.

The GCM is designed to ensure that with the selected frequency (f ), a given inter-coil separation (s ), a designated response of the primary magnetic field (H p ) for a given transmitter, the only unknowns are the secondary field (H s ), which is measured by the instrument, and the true ground conductivity (σ ). In other words

σ a = (2/πfµ 0 s 2 )(H s /H p ) q

(3.21)

where µ 0 is the permeability of free space and the subscript q denotes the quadrature phase.

If the ground is entirely homogeneous and isotropic, the instrument should give a measure of the true conductivity of the ground, i.e. σ a = σ . Examples of meters used for EM induction surveys are the

Section 3.8. Pulse-transient electromagnetic systems

Page 22

Geonics EM-31, EM-34, and EM-38 which are all frequency dependent and can explore specific depths. There is also the GSSI GEM300 which is a multi-frequency EM system. In order to achieve a greater depth of penetration, one needs to use an EM conductivity met er with the lowest frequency and greatest inter-coil separation.

3.8 Pulse-transient electromagnetic systems

These may also be referred to as the time-domain EM systems. T he systems work by generating an electromagnetic field which induces a series of currents in t he Earth at increasing depths over time. These currents create a magnetic field which is measured by th e receiver in order to deduce subsurface properties and features at great depth. In other cases, it is the decaying voltage observed while the current is turned off, that is measured and recorded as a function of time. The magnitude and rate of decay of the eddy currents depend on the conductivity of the medium and on the geometry of the conductive layers. Currents will decay very rapidly in medi a with high resistivity. A conductive layer at a depth may “trap” currents in that layer, while currents elsewhere decay more rapidly.

Pulse-transient EM systems have similar applications to Continuous-wave EM systems. Their major advantage lies in their ability to determine depths and map much deeper features. However, TDEM surveys are not as rapid as FDEM and thus large areas can not be surveyed or mapped as economically.

TEM measurements are affected by errors such as topography, s tatic cultural noise and dynamic cultural noise. The effect of topography stems from the relative posit ions of the transmitter and receiver. The presence of pipes, cables and metal fences around the survey area causes a static cultural noise, while dynamic cultural noise is caused by geomagnetic signals, li ghtning discharges producing natural EM transients, A.C. power lines and VLF transmitters which are higher frequency sources of noise.

The analysis and interpretation of a TEM survey depends largely on the kind of system which is used to obtain the data. In most cases, it is the plot of the transient voltage with time that is made. Other plots of observed data which may be made include response profile of decay voltage at all stations at a selected decay time and apparent resistivity versus time decay curve. The interpretation of the data involves actually observing the location and shape of a target from the observed profiles which is quantitative. After determining the location, the quality of such target is then determined by checking how the field intensity changes from one station to another us ing the transient voltage-time curves. Computer modelling of observed data has also been used to interprete TEM data, however it cannot be applied to three-dimensional models, although efforts are on to produce a software which can meet the need.

3.9 Electromagnetic data interpretation

The interpretation and analysis of electromagnetic data, either from a TDEM survey or from a FDEM survey, can be done in a different number of ways, according to the manner in which they have been acquired. However most analysis entails

Profiling and depth sounding which involves the representation of observed data as a plot (profiles or contour maps) on which anomalous areas can be identified. This only gives a qualitative information and is not often sufficient when the nature and shape of the anomaly is required.

Section 3.10. Comparing resistivity and electromagnetic method

Page 23

Computer analysis which yields quantitative information. With the aid of software packages, EM data may be entered into a computer program which inverts it t o produce a layered Earth model of the changing conductivity with depth. The estimated thicknesses and conductivities are then compared with observed values to have a fair idea of the nature of the underlying materials. In most cases, the computer iterates the given data until a reas onable error is reached and then a model of the layer will be presented based on the observed val ues.

Resolution which involves the act of determining the specific meter requ ired for a particular case and also distinguishing between two close but not identical values of the conductivity as measured by two separate EM equipments. Two EM equipments can locate t he same target body but with different resolutions or settings in terms of intercoil separations.

3.10 Comparing resistivity and electromagnetic method

Having discussed the details of both the resistivity method and electromagnetic methods, it is clear that they both have a few similarities as well as a lot of differences.

Some of the differences are hereby itemized

While the EM methods can be carried out effectively in air, sea and ground, the resistivity method can only be done on ground.

The resistivity method is not as complex and complicated as most EM surveys, particularly the airborne surveys where aircrafts and a sizeable number of personnel will be required.

As a result of the property of electromagnetic induction, EM methods can be used on frozen ground where it will be difficult for resistivity method, as the elect rodes may not easily be implanted into the ground.

While softwares for interpreting a three-layer Earth model using resistivity method are available, it is not easy to interprete a three-layer model in Time-doma in EM survey using the computer.

Apart from the similarities in some of the applications of both methods, other similarities include

In most cases, what is actually measured in resistivity or EM survey are the electrical properties of the ground such as resistivity, inductance and conductivity.

As in some EM equipments, increasing the transmitter-recei ver separation increases depth pene- tration. Likewise in resistivity survey, greater depth is a ttained by increasing the current electrode separation.

Just as resistivity data are affected by self-potentials present in the ground, secondary currents also affect the primary EM field needed in an EM survey.

The interpretation of EM data and resistivity data follow the same procedure, where profiles are obtained, and if need be, a computer is used to provide more information from the observed data.

4.

Limitations and Applications of the Resistivity

and Electromagnetic Method

4.1 Limitations of both methods

Some of the limitations of the resistivity method include

It may be unsuitable for examining highly industrialised and urbanised areas where cultural features such as buildings, fences and power lines may interfere with the collection of accurate data.

The target depth, size and resistivity contrast may also pos e limitations.

The interpretation is more difficult in the presence of complex geology and existence of natural currents and potentials.

Interpretation is limited to simple structural configurati ons. Any deviations from these simple situations may be impossible to interprete [KB84].

The depth of penetration is limited by the maximum electrica l power that can be introduced into the ground and by the practical difficulties of laying out long lengths of cable. The practical depth limit for most surveys is about 1Km [KB84].

Some of the limitations of the electromagnetic methods are h ereby itemized

According to Parasnis 1962, one of the troublesome effects in the electromagnetic methods is that the secondary currents in superficial layers of good conduct ivity, e.g. clays, graphitic shales etc. may screen the deeper conductors partially or wholly from the primary field. The latter which are the real objects of exploration will then produce weak or no distortions (anomalies) in the primary field and may therefore be undetectable.

The frequency dependence of depth penetration also places constraints on the EM method. Pene- tration is not very great, being limited by the frequency range that can be generated and detected

[KB84].

The quantitative interpretation of electromagnetic anoma lies is complex [KB84].

4.2 Applications of both methods

The general applications of the resistivity method (which may either be a Vertical electrical sounding or Constant separation traversing method) include

environmental audits and site assessment prior to construction

water resource management and groundwater resource studies such as mapping and plume delin- eation

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Section 4.3. Conclusion

Page 25

public/private remedial investigations and feasibility studies, landfill closures and geological map- ping

while some specific applications of the resistivity method i nclude

determination of the electrical properties of a surrounding area

determination of the depth of water table and the overburden depth

determination of extent of saltwater intrusions

delineation of salt water from fresh water and design of corrosion control

location and monitoring extent of groundwater pollution

location of fractures and faults, and detection of solution features and voids

Applications of EM methods (either TDEM or FDEM) are very wide, however a few will be highlighted.

location and exploration of orebodies or metalliferous mineral deposits, and oil reservoirs (CSEM)

groundwater investigations (FDEM for near-surface mapping investigations and TDEM for deeper investigations)

EM methods are mainly used in the follow-up ground surveys (s uch as resistivity survey) which provide more precise information on the target area

detection of underground cavities (TDEM) and location of frozen ground (FDEM)

contaminated-land mapping, landfill investigations (FDEM ), contaminant plume mapping (TDEM), mapping subsurface voids (TDEM)

4.3 Conclusion

The resistivity method and electromagnetic methods are two very important and useful techniques in geophysical exploration. They both require a field introduced into the ground and rely on the response of the ground to the applied field for an understanding of what lies beneath the Earth’s surface. For any survey to be more meaningful, one might have to “double-check” the output of the survey with another method, and that is why some geophysicists employ the resist ivity and electromagnetic methods, as they have similar applications and a similar style of interpreting the data. However, it is not always necessary to use both methods on a survey area for the same purpose.

Some of the factors which may influence the choice of any of the methods are the availability of personnel, the cost of operation, presence of a naturally occurring field generated by a transmitter as in VLF, the area of the location to be studied etc. It is also pertinent to note that both the resistivity technique and electromagnetic method are two of the best met hods used in geotechnical survey and geological investigations. There are lots of examples of ca ses in history where both methods have been applied.

Acknowledgements

All thanks be to God who has sustained me all through my time at AIMS.

I wish to acknowledge the efforts of my supervisor Prof. George Smith for his patience in reading through my work and suggesting very important additions and omissions, despite his busy schedule . I also want to thank Louise Soltau of the CSIR in Stellenbosch for her effort in making me understand more of resistivity and electromagnetics.

I am also full of gratitude to my parents and family for their love, support and encouragement from a distance.

The staff of AIMS led by the director, Prof. Fritz Hahne, are also worthy of acknowledgement. The last nine months would not have been what it was but for your wonderful roles and impact in my life too numerous to be stated. Special gratitude goes to Jan, Igs aan, Emmanuel, Laure, Matteo and other tutors. You’ve all been wonderful.

At this point, I wish to acknowledge my friends (AIMS Students 2007 set), especially my Nigerian colleagues, for their show of love and support as a family in the last few months of living together. You guys have been great.

To others who have contributed in their own way to the success of this work and my stay at AIMS, I say a big thank you.

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References

[Dob60] Milton B. Dobrin. Introduction to Geophysical Prospecting. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.,

1960.

[Dun70] F.W. Dunning. Geophysical Exploration. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office., 1970.

[KB84] Philip Kearey and Michael Brooks. An Introduction to Geophysical Exploration. Blackwell, London, 1984.

[Low97] William Lowrie. Fundamentals of Geophysics . Cambridge University Press. London, 1997.

[Ogh07] F. O. Oghenekohwo. An Exploitation of the Possible Applications of a Multi-layer Earth Model Using Electrical Resistivity Sounding Technique. BSc, University of Ibadan, 2007.

[Par62] D.S. Parasnis. Principles of Applied Geophysics . Methuen and Co. Ltd. London, 1962.

[Rey97] John M. Reynolds. An Introduction to Applied and Environmental Geophysics. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., 1997.

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