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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Allred, Barry
item Groom, Douglas
item Ehsani, Reza
item Daniels, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2008
Publication Date: 6/10/2008
Publication URL:
Citation: Allred, B.J., Groom, D., Ehsani, R.M., Daniels, J.J. 2008. Resistivity methods. In: Allred, B.J., Daniels, J.J., Ehsani, M.R. Handbook of Agricultural Geophysics. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 85-107.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Resistivity methods were among the first geophysical techniques developed. The basic concept originated with Conrad Schlumberger, who conducted the initial resistivity field tests in Normandy, France during 1912. The resistivity method, employed in its earliest and most conventional form, uses an external power source to supply electrical current between two “current” electrodes inserted at the ground surface. The propagation of current in the subsurface is three-dimensional, and so too is the associated electric field. Resistivity methods were originally employed in the petroleum and mining industries, and afterwards found use in archeological, hydrological, environmental, and geotechnical investigations. Development of continuous resistivity measurement techniques in the late 1980s and early 1990s has transformed the basic resistivity method into an effective and efficient tool to assess soil conditions in large agricultural fields. This chapter discusses theoretical considerations regarding soil resistivity (or electrical conductivity), soil resistivity measurement equipment, procedures for conducting farm field resistivity surveys, data analysis, and past applications of resistivity methods to agriculture.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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