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Transient electromagnetic sounding for groundwater

January 1, 1986

The feasibility of using the transient electromagnetic sounding (TS or TDEM) method for groundwater exploration can be studied by means of numerical models. As examples of its applicability to groundwater exploration, we study four groundwater exploration problems: (1) mapping of alluvial fill and gravel zones over bedrock; (2) mapping of sand and gravel lenses in till; (3) detection of salt or brackish water interfaces in freshwater aquifers; and (4) determination of hydrostratigraphy. These groundwater problems require determination of the depth to bedrock; location of resistive, high‐porosity zones associated with fresh water; determination of formation resistivity to assess water quality; and determination of lithology and geometry, respectively. The TS method is best suited for locating conductive targets, and has very good vertical resolution. Unlike other sounding techniques where the receiver‐transmitter array must be expanded to sound more deeply, the depth of investigation for the TS method is a function of the length of time the transient is recorded. Present equipment limitations require that exploration targets with resistivities of 50 Ω ⋅ m or more be at least 50 m deep to determine their resistivity. The maximum depth of exploration is controlled by the geoelectrical section and background electromagnetic (EM) noise. For a particular exploration problem, numerical studies are recommended to determine if the target is detectable.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1986
Title Transient electromagnetic sounding for groundwater
DOI 10.1190/1.1442158
Authors David V. Fitterman, Mark T. Stewart
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysics
Series Number
Index ID 70014543
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization