The use of electrical resistivity tomography in deriving local-scale models of recharge through superficial deposits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The way in which superficial deposits affect groundwater recharge is often a significant source of uncertainty in groundwater resources and vulnerability assessments. A study of a small catchment in Shropshire, UK, shows how electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), with a degree of borehole control, can be an effective tool for defining the geometry of superficial deposits for purposes of inferring the hydraulic processes controlling groundwater recharge. Major lithological units were mapped to within c. 0.5 m vertically and 5 m horizontally using ERT surveys with a minimum electrode spacing of 2 m. Interpretation was aided by the strong contrast in resistivity between till and glaciolacustrine deposits (20-40 Omega m) and glaciofluvial deposits (generally >100 Omega m) that overlie the Permo-Triassic sandstone aquifer (saturated resistivity 60-145 Omega m) in the study area. A range of local-scale (tens to hundreds of metres) recharge models are presented, based on the findings of the field surveys, and it is shown how existing mapping misses key features of the superficial geology that may be very significant in enhancing or restricting aquifer recharge.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-209
Number of pages11
JournalQuarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009