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Review of Self-potential methods in Hydrogeophysics

Abstract : The self-potential (SP) method is a passive geophysical method based on the natural occurrence of electrical fields on the Earth's surface. Combined with other geophysical methods, SP surveys are especially useful for localizing and quantifying groundwater flows and pollutant plume spreading, and estimating pertinent hydraulic properties of aquifers (water table, hydraulic conductivity). Laboratory experiments have shown that the involved coupling coefficients mainly depend on the fluid chemistry, conductivity and pH, and on the soil or rock properties. The interpretation of SP observations can be done qualitatively, for instance by correlation of SP gradients with water fluxes (through electrokinetics) or salt fluxes (through electro-diffusion). In recent years, the interpretation has been improved with the help of modelling or/and inversion of the Poisson equation and endeavours to estimate hydraulic parameters by means of the intensity of electric current sources caused by underground flows.
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Laurence Jouniaux, Alexis Maineult, Véronique Naudet, Marc Pessel, Pascal Sailhac. Review of Self-potential methods in Hydrogeophysics. Comptes Rendus Géoscience, Elsevier Masson, 2009, 341 (10-11), pp.928-936. ⟨10.1016/j.crte.2009.08.008⟩. ⟨hal-00454925⟩

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