Journal of Applied Geophysics vol:57 issue:4 pages:260-277
A methodology to locate automatically limits or boundaries between different geological bodies in 2D electrical tomography is proposed, using a crest line extraction process in gradient images, This method is applied on several synthetic models and on field data set acquired on three experimental sites during the European project PALEOSIS where trenches were dug. The results presented in this work are valid for electrical tomographies data collected with a Wenner-alpha array and computed with an 1(1) norm (blocky inversion) as optimization method, For the synthetic cases. three geometric contexts are modelled: a vertical and a dipping fault juxtaposing two different geological formations and a step-like structure. A superficial layer can cover each geological structure. In these three situations, the method locates the synthetic faults and layer boundaries, and determines fault displacement but with several limitations. The estimated fault positions correlate exactly with the synthetic ones if a conductive (or no superficial) layer overlies the studied structure. When a resistive layer with a thickness of 6 in covers the model, faults are positioned with a maximum error of 1 m. Moreover, when a resistive and/or a thick top layer is present, the resolution significantly decreases for the fault displacement estimation (error up to 150%). The tests with the synthetic models for surveys using the Wenner-alpha array indicate that the proposed methodology is best suited to vertical and horizontal contacts. Application of the methodology to real data sets shows that a lateral resistivity contrast of 1:5 1:10 leads to exact faults location. A fault contact with a resistivity contrast of 1:0.75 and overlaid by a resistive layer with a thickness or 1 m gives an error location ranging from 1 to 3 m. Moreover, no result is obtained for a contact with very low contrasts (similar to 1:0.85) overlaid by a resistive soil. The method shows poor results when vertical gradients are greater than horizontal ones. This kind of image processing technique should be systematically used for improving the objectiveness of tomography interpretation when looking for limits between geological objects. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.