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Geoelectrical Imaging of Moisture Dynamics in Engineered Slopes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ross Stirling, Rosalind Hen-Jones


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Understanding construction quality and state of embankments used for road and rail infrastructure is critical in the effective management and maintenance of our transport network. Future climatic changes are predicted to lead to up to 20% more precipitation (with strong increases in winter), more flash floods, and drier summers. These environmental changes will have inevitable consequences for the serviceability and maintenance of our engineered infrastructure. Yet, current assessment of asset condition is mainly informed by failure events and remediation measures initiated in response to emergencies. New intelligent platforms and science to monitor current embankment state and risk are required, to enable proactive remediation before failure occurs.Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) is a geophysical technique that is sensitive to lithological and mineralogical heterogeneity and changes in ground temperature and soil moisture content. When corrected for temperature changes, repeated resistivity measurements employing permanently installed electrodes will highlight changes in moisture content over time. Therefore, ERT monitoring can be used to image moisture movements in slopes, giving information about accumulation and drainage areas, as well as preferential flow paths. This provides a tool to assess the hydrological state of an embankment, which can be used as an indicator for its geotechnical state.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Uhlemann S, Chambers J, Wilkinson P, Gunn D, Stirling R, Hen-Jones R

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 3rd International Workshop on Geoelectrical Monitoring (GELMON,2015)

Year of Conference: 2015

Online publication date: 24/11/2015

Acceptance date: 02/11/2015

ISSN: 1017‐8880

Publisher: Geologische Bundesanstalt