A geological and hydrogeological assessment of the electrical conductivity information from the HiRES airborne geophysical survey of the Isle of Wight

Beamish, David; White, James C.. 2011 A geological and hydrogeological assessment of the electrical conductivity information from the HiRES airborne geophysical survey of the Isle of Wight. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 122 (5). 800-808.

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A recent high resolution airborne geophysical survey across the Isle of Wight (IoW) and Lymington area has provided the first electromagnetic data across the relatively young geological formations characterising much of southern England. The multi-frequency data provide information on bulk electrical conductivity to depths of the order of 100 m. A GIS-based assessment of the electrical conductivity information in relation to bedrock geological classification has been conducted for the first time. The analysis uses over 104,000 measurements across onshore IoW and has established average and statistical properties as a function of bedrock geology. The average values are used to provide baseline maps of apparent electrical conductivity and the variation with depth (measured as a function of frequency). The average conductivity as a function of depth within the main aquifer units is summarised. The data indicate that the majority of the Palaeogene is characterised by values consistently in excess of 100 mS/m and with a surprisingly high degree of spatial heterogeneity. The youngest (Oligocene) Hamstead Member displays some strong edge effects and the largest localized values in conductivity. The central Upper Chalk is associated with the lowest observed conductivity values and mineral content and/or porosity appears to increase with increasing age. The large central outcrop of the Lower Greensand Group, Ferruginous Sand Formation provides persistently low (<30 mS/m) conductivity values which imply a relatively uniform distribution of clean sand content. Non-geological (e.g. environmental) responses are contained within the data set and examples of these in relation to a closed municipal landfill and an area of potential coastal saline intrusion are discussed. In the south, the Gault clay/mudstone of the Early Cretaceous appears as a distinctive conductive unit. Cross sectional modelling of the data has been undertaken across the aquifer units of the Southern Downs. The results indicate that the Gault Formation, acting as an aquitard, can be traced as a distinct unit under the more resistive Early Cretaceous Upper Greensand and Late Cretaceous Chalk formations. The conductivity modelling should therefore allow an estimation of the subsurface configuration of the aquifer and aquitard units.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Land Use, Planning and Development
ISSN: 0016-7878
Date made live: 01 Dec 2011 15:14 +0 (UTC)

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