Laboratory measurements of the resistivity of three sandstone samples collected during imbibition (increasing Sw) and drainage (decreasing Sw) show pronounced hysteresis in resistivity throughout much of the saturation range. The variation in resistivity can be related to changes in pore-scale fluid distribution caused by changes in saturation history. The form of the hysteresis is such that resistivity measured during imbibition is consistently less than that measured, at the same saturation, during drainage. This can be attributed to the presence of conduction at the air/ water interface in partially saturated samples; an effect that is enhanced by fluid geometries associated with the imbibition process. The results of this study suggest that the dependence of geophysical data on saturation history should be considered when interpreting data from the unsaturated zone.

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