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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » National Sedimentation Laboratory » Watershed Physical Processes Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377013

Research Project: Utilizing Acoustic and Geophysics Technology to Assess and Monitor Watersheds in the United States

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research

Title: Application of seismic refraction and electrical resistivity cross-plot analysis: A case study at Francis Levee Site

Author
item WODAJO, LETI - University Of Mississippi
item HICKEY, CRAIG - University Of Mississippi
item BRACKETT, THOMAS - Viceroy Petroleum

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2019
Publication Date: 11/11/2019
Citation: Wodajo, L.T., Hickey, C.J., Brackett, T.C. 2019. Application of seismic refraction and electrical resistivity cross-plot analysis: A case study at Francis Levee Site. In: Lorenzo J., Doll W. (eds) Levees and Dams: Advances in Geophysical Monitoring and Characterization. Springer, Cham. pp. 23-40. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-27367-5_2.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-27367-5_2

Interpretive Summary: The University of Mississippi, National Center for Physical Acoustics (NCPA) develops ground-based geophysical tools and technologies to assess the integrity of and to monitor earthen dams and levees. These surveys provided valuable information about the interior of earthen embankments that complement existing visual observations allowing for better assessment of the integrity of these structures. However, geophysical images can contain anomalous features that are not related to compromised zones within the embankment. This study examines the benefits of combining data from two types of geophysical measurements in order to reduce the number of false anomalies. Geophysical surveys were conducted at a levee a site affected by sand boil formations during the 2011 Mississippi river flood event. For this site, the combined use of seismic and electrical information indicates that preferential flow beneath the levee occurs within the sand layer of an old oxbow and sand boil formation occurs where the overlying clay layer is thin.

Technical Abstract: Geophysical methods such as electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and seismic refraction tomography (SRT) provide a rapid, more economical, and non-invasive option of investigation of dams and levees with better and more complete sub-surface coverage. Several factors, such as water content and porosity, affect both SRT and ERT results although their sensitivity may differ. By combining electrical resistivity and seismic refraction tomography, a unique assessment of the integrity of earthen embankment dams and levees can be obtained. Cross-plot analysis based on seismic and electrical attributes to seepage and piping can be used to achieve this goal. In this study, a method of combining SRT and ERT using cross-plot analysis is discussed. The method is applied to geophysical surveys conducted at the Francis Levee Site, a site affected by sand boil formations during the 2011 Mississippi river flood event. Requiring consistency between seismic velocity and electrical resistivity models to predict feasible porosity values, an anomaly on the waterside that could be associated with the sand boil formations is identified. Using the seismic velocity and electrical resistivity values of the anomaly on the waterside as limiting values, a cross-plot analysis is performed to identify similar anomalies on the landside. The results from the geophysical methods, cross-plot analysis, and with the help of the geomorphology of the site, indicate that preferential flow occurs within the sand layer in an old oxbow. Sand boils at the site outcrop where the overlying clay layer is thin or the weakest.