Electromagnetic survey methodology is adapted to use the electric component to directly detect buried resistors and map resistivity contrasts in the near surface. System implementations do not require ground contact because they use capacitive electric-field sensors and an inductive source and may be operated at walking pace. This study outlines theoretical basis, computational modeling, and verification for the methodology. The systems are designed to operate at low enough frequency that any responses are at the resistive limit; as such, the electric fields they measure are insensitive to horizontal layering and absolute conductivity. A surface integral equation algorithm is used to model regular discrete objects in a half-space. Anomalies are controlled by geometry and lateral resistivity contrast rather than by absolute resistivity values. A prototype electrode array system called CARIS 1 reliably detects resistive objects submerged in a saltwater tank, and the measured responses are consistent with numerical modeling. These results provided the basis for further development of the CARIS II system with flexible geometry that is adaptable to detect resistive or conductive targets in any background environment. CARIS is designed to be useful where conventional electromagnetics, ground-penetrating radar, and conventional resistivity face difficulties or fail, and it has easily detected a range of buried targets in the near surface. However, it is quite sensitive to disturbed ground and surface undulation and inhomogeneity.

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