Extreme sensitivity of crosshole electrical resistivity tomography measurements to geometric errors

Wilkinson, Paul; Chambers, Jonathan; Lelliott, Michael; Wealthall, Gary; Ogilvy, Richard. 2008 Extreme sensitivity of crosshole electrical resistivity tomography measurements to geometric errors. Geophysical Journal International, 173 (1). 49-62.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
Text (Post-print)

Download (6MB)


The effects of geometric errors on crosshole resistivity data are investigated using analytical methods. Geometric errors are systematic and can occur due to uncertainties in the individual electrode positions, the vertical spacing between electrodes in the same borehole, or the vertical offset between electrodes in opposite boreholes. An estimate of the sensitivity to geometric error is calculated for each of two generic types of four-electrode crosshole configuration: current flow and potential difference crosshole (XH) and in-hole (IH). It is found that XH configurations are not particularly sensitive to geometric error unless the boreholes are closely spaced on the scale of the vertical separation of the current and potential electrodes. However, extremely sensitive IH configurations are shown to exist for any borehole separation. Therefore, it is recommended that XH configurations be used in preference to IH schemes. The effects of geometric error are demonstrated using real XH data from a closely spaced line of boreholes designed to monitor bioremediation of chlorinated solvents at an industrial site.Asmall fraction of the data had physically unrealistic apparent resistivities, which were either negative or unexpectedly large. However by filtering out configurations with high sensitivities to geometric error, all of the suspect data were removed. This filtering also significantly improved the convergence between the predicted and the measured resistivities when the data were inverted. In addition to systematic geometric errors, the measured data also exhibit a high level of random noise. Despite this, the resulting inverted images correspond reasonably closely with the known geology and nearby cone penetrometer resistivity profiles.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Electrical Tomography
ISSN: 0956-540X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The definitive version is available at
Additional Keywords: Inverse theory; Downhole methods; Tomography; Electrical properties; Hydrogeophysics
NORA Subject Terms: Physics
Earth Sciences
Date made live: 07 Apr 2008 11:12 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...