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Open AccessArticle

Heat as a Proxy to Image Dynamic Processes with 4D Electrical Resistivity Tomography

AQUALE sprl, Rue Ernest Montellier 22, 5380 Noville-les-Bois, Belgium
Urban and Environmental Engineering, University of Liege, 4000 Liege, Belgium
F.R.S.—FNRS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique), Rue d’Egmont 5, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
UCLouvain, Louvain School of Engineering, Rue Archimède 1, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Raco bvba, Meylandtlaan 39, 3550 Heusden-Zolder, Belgium
ENSEGID, Allée Fernand Daguin, 33607 Pessac, France
Department of Geology, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The two first authors contributed equally to the publication.
Geosciences 2019, 9(10), 414;
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 2 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019 / Published: 24 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Subsurface Thermography and the Use of Temperature in Geosciences)
Since salt cannot always be used as a geophysical tracer (because it may pollute the aquifer with the mass that is necessary to induce a geophysical contrast), and since in many contaminated aquifer salts (e.g., chloride) already constitute the main contaminants, another geophysical tracer is needed to force a contrast in the subsurface that can be detected from surface geophysical measurements. In this context, we used heat as a proxy to image and monitor groundwater flow and solute transport in a shallow alluvial aquifer (<10 m deep) with the help of electrical resistivity tomography (ERT). The goal of our study is to demonstrate the feasibility of such methodology in the context of the validation of the efficiency of a hydraulic barrier that confines a chloride contamination to its source. To do so, we combined a heat tracer push/pull test with time-lapse 3D ERT and classical hydrogeological measurements in wells and piezometers. Our results show that heat can be an excellent salt substitution tracer for geophysical monitoring studies, both qualitatively and semi-quantitatively. Our methodology, based on 3D surface ERT, allows to visually prove that a hydraulic barrier works efficiently and could be used as an assessment of such installations. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D electrical resistivity tomography; time-lapse; monitoring; heat tracer 3D electrical resistivity tomography; time-lapse; monitoring; heat tracer
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Robert, T.; Paulus, C.; Bolly, P.-Y.; Koo Seen Lin, E.; Hermans, T. Heat as a Proxy to Image Dynamic Processes with 4D Electrical Resistivity Tomography. Geosciences 2019, 9, 414.

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