Interpretation of VLF Resistivity Data for Ground Water Contamination Surveys

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Very low frequency (VLF) military communications systems provide a primary field that can be used for shallow geophysical surveys to locate ground water contamination and vertical geologic contacts. Useful properties that can be easily obtained from the interaction of the earth and the primary field are the magnitude of the vertical secondary magnetic field, the surface impedence, and the phase angle between the electrical and magnetic horizontal components. The variations in the secondary magnetic field can be related to vertical geologic contacts, such as the edges of landfill trenches. The surface impedence yields an apparent terrain conductivity, which can be used to locate low-resistivity anomalies often associated with contaminated ground water. The phase angle gives information on vertical variations in resistivity, phase angles less than 45° indicating increasing resistivity with depth. The depth of penetration of the VLF field is about one skin depth. For a frequency of 20 kHz, the skin depth in meters is approximately equal to 3.67inline image where p is terrain resistivity in ohmmeters.

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Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation, v. 6, issue 1, p. 71-75