Mineshaft imaging using surface and crosshole 3D electrical resistivity tomography : a case history from the East Pennine Coalfield, UK

Chambers, Jonathan E.; Wilkinson, Paul B.; Weller, Alan L.; Meldrum, Philip I.; Ogilvy, Richard D.; Caunt, Simon. 2007 Mineshaft imaging using surface and crosshole 3D electrical resistivity tomography : a case history from the East Pennine Coalfield, UK. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 62 (4). 324-337.

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Hidden mineshafts located in urban areas are a significant problem across much of the industrialized world. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) is a technique that can detect and characterize hidden mine entries by exploiting resistivity contrasts between the shaft and surrounding materials, resulting from either compositional or structural differences. A case study is presented in which both surface and crosshole 3D ERT surveys are used to image a hidden backfilled mineshaft at a built environment site, situated on Carboniferous Lower Coal Measures strata in the UK. Backfilled shafts generally present the greatest challenge for detection using geophysical methods, as contrasts between the fill and bedrock are typically low compared to air or water-filled conditions. Nevertheless, the shaft in this case was identified by both the surface and crosshole 3D surveys. The shaft appeared as a strongly resistive anomaly relative to background materials, which we interpreted as resulting from the disturbed fabric of the fill materials rather than any significant compositional differences. The study highlighted the respective strengths and weaknesses of the surface and crosshole ERT methodologies for this type of problem. The surface survey, which covered a non-rectangular area to accommodate irregular boundaries and other physical obstructions, provided a relatively rapid means of investigating the study site. However, this method had a limited depth of investigation and was constrained in its coverage by the locations of buildings. By contrast, the 3D crosshole method was able to image the shaft to the level of the deepest borehole electrodes. Although crosshole ERT is too expensive to be used for large-scale mineshaft surveys, this study clearly demonstrates its suitability for targeted investigations where surface methods cannot be deployed, such as scanning beneath surface structures or in situations where it is essential for resolution to be maintained with depth. (c) 2007 NERC. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Electrical Tomography
ISSN: 0926-9851
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 14 Sep 2012 15:15 +0 (UTC)

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