Electrical Resistivity Primer

OutlineMotivationGeophysical ImagingSubsurface Electrical PropertiesThe Electrical Resistivity MethodSurveys and Data DisplayTimelapse Electrical Resistivity

Section Summary

This section discussed the details of the electrical resistivity method. It starts by discussing how we collect data (both for a simple configuration such as a core, and in the field), how we combine this data into surveys (this section also discusses apparent resistivity) and finishes by providing some details on the instrumentation which is being used to collect data.

It should be noted here that there are many other geophysical methods apart from electrical resistivity, such as

  • Seismic

  • Magnetic

  • Electromagnetic (which has several subcategories

  • Time Domain

  • Frequency Domain

  • NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance)

  • GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar)

  • Gravity

  • Nuclear

Each of these methods gives us access to different physical properties, and dependent on the physical property of interest one would choose a different method.

For each of these methods there are different instruments and different vendors. For a detailed discussion of these methods the reader should consult standard geophysical textbooks. Some links to textbooks and additional resources are provided here.

It should be noted that one of the main applications of electrical resistivity is in the oil and gas industry using a method known as resistivity borehole logging. While a lot of the general principles discussed here are relevant to resistivity borehole logging, this method has many aspects which are not discussed here. Links to resources which discuss borehole logging are provided here.