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Electrical geophysical methods to outline ground water rising in urban areas

Hydrological conditions in Delta Volga, RussiaThe groundwater table rises steadily in the delta Volga, where Astrakhan’ city is located because of irrigation and rising of the Caspian Sea level. The highly saline groundwater enhances secondary salinity in the area. The groundwater caused visible destruction of more than 20% of the buildings in Astrakhan’ city. Natural hazardous groundwater condition in delta Volga was further aggravated in the urban areas by the uncontrolled leakage from the canals and plumbing pipes.

The methods of vertical electrical sounding (VES) and non-contact electromagnetic profiling (NEP) were tested in 1995 for detail outlining of the groundwater table within the representative part of Astrakhan’ city. The study area was located in the center of Astrakhan’ with a large change of elevation, which induced a high variation of groundwater table within the area.map of geophysical survey in Astrakhan City

Profiles of alluvial soils in delta Volga consist of thin layers of silt, clay, and sand. However, only water and salt content distributions within the soil profile cause considerable differentiation of the electrical resistivity in these soils. The soil profile can be generally divided into the top unsaturated layer with high resistivity and the bottom layer saturated by saline groundwater with low resistivity. Considering high distinction in electrical resistivity between unsaturated and saturated zones, the VES method was applied for detection of groundwater table. With the 1-D computer interpretation of the VES data the transition between top layer with high resistivity and bottom layer with low resistivity (i.e. groundwater table) was determined accurately. Compared with the groundwater tables measured in wells, the relative errors of the VES estimation were from 3 to 13%.

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