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Evolution of the electrical resistivity anisotropy during saline tracer tests: insights from geoelectrical milli-fluidic experiments

Abstract : The use of time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography has been largely developed in environmental studies to remotely monitor water saturation and contaminant plumes migration. However, subsurface heterogeneities, and corresponding preferential transport paths, yield a potentially large anisotropy in the electrical properties of the subsurface. In order to study this effect, we have used a newly developed geoelectrical milli-fluidic experimental set-up with a flow cell that contains a 2D porous medium consisting of a single layer of cylindrical solid grains. We performed saline tracer tests under full and partial water saturations in that cell by jointly injecting air and aqueous solutions with different salinities. The flow cell is equipped with four electrodes to measure the bulk electrical resistivity at the cell’s scale. The spatial distribution of the water/air phases and the saline solute concentration field in the water phase are captured simultaneously with a high-resolution camera by combining a fluorescent tracer with the saline solute. These data are used to compute the longitudinal and transverse effective electrical resistivity numerically from the measured spatial distributions of the fluid phases and the salinity field. This approach is validated as the computed longitudinal effective resistivities are in good agreement with the laboratory measurements. The anisotropy in electrical resistivity is then inferred from the computed longitudinal and transverse effective resistivities. We find that the spatial distribution of saline tracer, and potentially air phase, drive temporal changes in the effective resistivity through preferential paths or barriers for electrical current at the pore scale. The resulting heterogeneities in the solute concentrations lead to strong anisotropy of the effective bulk electrical resistivity, especially for partially saturated conditions. Therefore, considering the electrical resistivity as a tensor could improve our understanding of transport properties from field-scale time-lapse ERT.
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Conference papers
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Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 2:33:51 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 11:47:16 AM


  • HAL Id : insu-01731907, version 1


Damien Jougnot, Joaquin Jimenez-Martinez, Raphaël Legendre, Tanguy Le Borgne, Yves Méheust, et al.. Evolution of the electrical resistivity anisotropy during saline tracer tests: insights from geoelectrical milli-fluidic experiments . American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2017, Dec 2017, New Orleans, United States. pp.H33A-1643. ⟨insu-01731907⟩



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