Electrical Explorations (Available in Geo-Environmental Special Issue only)

by Eric B. Rehwoldt, P.E., (M.ASCE), Assoc. Engr.; Schnabel Engrg. Assocs., Bethesda, MD,
Gordon M. Matheson, P.E., (M.ASCE), Prin Engr. and Sr. Vice President; Schnabel Engrg. Assocs., Bethesda, MD,
Mark H. Dunscomb, Proj. Geophysicist; Schnabel Engrg. Assocs., West Chester, PA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1999, Vol. 69, Issue 10, Pg. 2A-7A

Document Type: Feature article


Recent advances in state-of-the-art, relatively fast, two- and three-dimensional electrical resistivity imaging (also called profiling or tomography) have offered a new view on subsurface geophysical modeling for engineering and environmental applications. Resistivity imaging relies on contrasts in the electrical properties of earth materials to locate zones of anomalously low or high resistivity. These zones identify potential subsurface targets of interest. Consistently spaced electrodes are driven into the ground and connected to a computer-guided resistivity meter by one or more cables. The meter takes measurements along the electrode array using four electrodes at a time until all possible combinations within given parameters are exhausted. The method has been successfully used on many projects, including three profiled here.

Subject Headings: Cables | Material properties | Electrical resistivity | Three-dimensional models | Subsurface environment | Geophysical surveys | Radiography

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