ABSTRACT

Tensor radiomagnetotelluric (RMT) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) data were acquired along 10 parallel lines to image electrical resistivity of the vadose and the saturated zone in an area near Trecate, 45 km west of Milan in Italy. In 1994, the area was exposed to an oil contamination caused by a tank explosion and has since been subject to monitoring and remediation programs. For the first time, we have examined a 3D inversion of full tensor RMT data and have compared the results with 2D joint inversion of RMT and ERT data. First, a synthetic 3D resistivity model with similar variations close to those measured at the Trecate site was generated for the comparison. The synthetic tests showed that resistivity models from 2D joint inversion of ERT and RMT data contain more details closer to the surface compared to the models from the 3D inversion of tensor RMT data. High resistivity structures are better resolved by the 2D joint inversion, whereas the more conductive features are better recovered by the 3D inversion. In the next step, the ERT and RMT data collected in the Trecate site were modeled with the same approaches used in the synthetic modeling. Using the measured tensor RMT data, it was possible to carry out full 3D inversion to study the underlying geology. Comparison between the resistivity models from both inversions with the lithological data from the existing boreholes, resistivity models from the inversion of crosshole resistivity data, and water content models from magnetic resonance soundings measurements showed that the electrical resistivity, depth to the top and thickness of the water saturated zone is modeled more accurately with the 3D inversion.

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