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Enlightening Research


Electrical Geophysical Methods to Evaluate Soil Pollution from Gas and Oil Mining

transect across bitumen polluted soil and brune collectorElectrical geophysical methods were successfully used for exploration of gas and oil fields (Kalenev, 1970). However, the methods are not widely used for estimation of the soil pollution with petroleum products (Znamensky, 1980; Pozdnyakov et al., 1996a). The possibility of using the methods of electrical resistivity to evaluate the places of petroleum pollution or natural petroleum and gas deposits is based on highly different resistivities of soil and petroleum products. Petroleum and various products of petroleum manufacture, such as oil, gasoline, bitumen, and kerosene have very high electrical resistivity compared with soils. Electrical resistivity of petroleum varies from 104 to 1019 ohm m (Fedinsky, 1967), whereas resistivity of petroleum-saturated sand is much lower (2200 ohm m) (Znamensky, 1980), but is still higher than that of any non-polluted soil.

Soil pollution by the products of gas and petroleum mining was studied near Urengoi in northwest Siberia, Russia. The virgin soils, Glacic and Aquic Haplorthels, were extremely polluted with various by-products of petroleum extraction and manufacturing, such as bitumen, gasoline, kerosene, and mining brine solutions. The study area was thoroughly investigated with four-electrode profiling on 1.2-m array and vertical electrical sounding.


Urengoj 65° 57' 27" N, 78° 23' 4.2" E
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