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Title: Challenges and opportunities for fractured rock imaging using 3D cross-borehole electrical resistivity

There is an increasing need to characterize discrete fractures away from boreholes to better define fracture distributions and monitor solute transport. We performed a 3D evaluation of static and time-lapse cross-borehole electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) data sets from a limestone quarry in which flow and transport are controlled by a bedding-plane feature. Ten boreholes were discretized using an unstructured tetrahedral mesh, and 2D panel measurements were inverted for a 3D distribution of conductivity. We evaluated the benefits of 3D versus 2.5D inversion of ERT data in fractured rock while including the use of borehole regularization disconnects (BRDs) and borehole conductivity constraints. High-conductivity halos (inversion artifacts) surrounding boreholes were removed in static images when BRDs and borehole conductivity constraints were implemented. Furthermore, applying these constraints focused transient changes in conductivity resulting from solute transport on the bedding plane, providing a more physically reasonable model for conductivity changes associated with solute transport at this fractured rock site. Assuming bedding-plane continuity between fractures identified in borehole televiewer data, we discretized a planar region between six boreholes and applied a fracture regularization disconnect (FRD). Although the FRD appropriately focused conductivity changes on the bedding plane, the conductivity distribution within the discretized fracture was nonuniquemore » and dependent on the starting homogeneous model conductivity. Synthetic studies performed to better explain field observations showed that inaccurate electrode locations in boreholes resulted in low-conductivity halos surrounding borehole locations. These synthetic studies also showed that the recovery of the true conductivity within an FRD depended on the conductivity contrast between the host rock and fractures. Our findings revealed that the potential exists to improve imaging of fractured rock through 3D inversion and accurate modeling of boreholes. However, deregularization of localized features can result in significant electrical conductivity artifacts, especially when representing features with a high degree of spatial uncertainty.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Geophysics, 80(2):e49-e61
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
resistivity, fractured rock, inversion, imaging, geophysics