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Fluid flow near reservoir lakes inferred from the spatial and temporal analysis of the electric potential

Trique, Michaël and Perrier, Frédéric and Froidefond, Thierry and Avouac, Jean-Philippe and Hautot, Sophie (2002) Fluid flow near reservoir lakes inferred from the spatial and temporal analysis of the electric potential. Journal of Geophysical Research B, 107 (B10). Art. No. 2239. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2001JB000482.

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Electric self-potential (SP) variations have been monitored continuously from 1995 to 1998 at 14 points on a ridge separating the Roselend and La Gittaz reservoir lakes in the French Alps. The lakes have level variations of at least 50 m over yearly cycles. Seasonal variations of SP associated with lake-level variations are observed on five points of the array. For three points located on the banks of the lakes, a positive correlation to the lake-level variations is observed with a maximal amplitude of about 180 mV, corresponding to an average response of 2.4 mV per meter of water. For two points located on the bottom of each lake, the correlation is negative, with a maximal magnitude of about −50 mV, corresponding to an average response of −1.1 mV per meter of water. Two independent temporary electrical arrays located on the banks of each lake confirm these measurements and allow a better spatial characterization of the sources associated with the observed SP variations. In particular, near the Roselend lake, the electrical response to lake-level variations is increasing for decreasing altitude. The measured SP variations are proposed to result from the electrokinetic coupling associated with a vertical groundwater flow connecting a constant pore pressure source to the bottom of the lakes. Numerical modeling indicates that the spatial variation of the response and the nonlinear response observed at one point can be explained by leakage currents in the conductive lake water. The values of the streaming potential coefficient (SPC), measured in the laboratory with crushed rock samples from the site, range from 14 to 50 mV/0.1 MPa for an electrolyte resistivity of 40 Ω m and are compatible, to first order, with the magnitude of the observed seasonal SP variations. A detailed quantitative electrokinetic modeling is currently limited mainly by the poor knowledge on the contribution of electrical leakage currents and the local variability of the SPC. This experiment indicates that spatial and temporal variations of the electric potential are promising tools to characterize and monitor shallow groundwater flow and provide practical data for the investigation of groundwater flow associated with volcanic or tectonic activity.

Item Type:Article
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Avouac, Jean-Philippe0000-0002-3060-8442
Additional Information:© 2002 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 16 February 2001; revised 16 May 2002; accepted 16 May 2002; published 19 October 2002. The authors thank the "Environment Program" of the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique for support and the Ministry of Environment for a research grant. K. Spitzer is thanked for his help on the use of his numerical model. G. Petiau is thanked for his expertise and advice during the various stages of the experiment. P. Morat is thanked for numerous inspiring discussions. P. Tarits is thanked for initial guidance and for supporting one of the authors (S. Hautot). Last but not least, this manuscript was improved significantly thanks to the careful and detailed review by P. Roperch.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA)UNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Environment (France)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:self-potential; streaming potential; electrokinetic effect; earthquake precursors; groundwater circulation; magnetotellurics
Issue or Number:B10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120907-140226503
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Official Citation:Trique, M., F. Perrier, T. Froidefond, J.-P. Avouac, and S. Hautot (2002), Fluid flow near reservoir lakes inferred from the spatial and temporal analysis of the electric potential, J. Geophys. Res., 107, 2239, doi:10.1029/2001JB000482
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:33940
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 Sep 2012 21:10
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:05

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