Using the Resistivity Imaging Method to Monitor the Dynamic Effects on the Vadose Zone During Pumping Tests at the Pengtsuo Site in Pingtung, Taiwan


We conducted a time-lapse monitoring study during a well-pumping test at the Pengtsuo site in Pingtung, Taiwan. Water-level gauges were installed in four wells (P1, W1, O1, and O2) at the Pengtsuo site with different screen depths for the observation. We designed the pumping test to be executed in three phases: the background, the stepwise-pumping, and the continuous-pumping phases. The survey line crossed the four wells so that a comparison would be possible between the resistivity measurements and the water-level records. The resistivity differences relative to the pre-pumping background show that electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) can resolve changes due to dewatering from pumping activity. The time-lapse resistivity images reveal that the maximum resistivity increase took place at the locations in the vadose zone instead of at the groundwater surface. The variation in the resistivity differences in the vadose zone correlated to the change in groundwater level in the stepwise phase. On the other hand, the resistivity-difference change was not fully consistent with the groundwater-level change in the continuous-pumping phase. We attribute the abnormal ERI signals to the dynamic non-equilibrium of the water movement in the vadose zone. The findings suggest that pumping designs can affect the changing resistivity differences and water-content distribution patterns. We show the potential of the ER method to reveal both the water flow and water-content changes in the vadose zone with different transient boundary conditions.

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