Dehydration is a common process occurring in natural environments, rocks, and building materials. Suitable methods for monitoring the changing moisture content should be identified. We have investigated the impact of dehydration of sandstones on complex conductivity spectra. Spectral induced polarization measurements were performed on five sandstone samples during evaporative drying. The complex conductivity spectra indicate considerable changes with decreasing saturation. The relationship between conductivity and saturation can be described by a power law known as the second empirical Archie equation. Separate saturation exponents have been determined for the real and imaginary parts of conductivity. The imaginary part of conductivity indicates higher saturation exponents for the investigated sandstones compared to the real part. Obviously, the saturation exponents depend on the method used for changing water saturation. Evaporative drying, which is used in our experiments, causes an increase of pore-water salinity and results in lower saturation exponents for the real part of conductivity but higher exponents for the imaginary part in comparison with the classical imbibition/drainage technique. We evaluate a theoretical approach that considers the influence of pore water salinity on the saturation exponents of the real and imaginary parts of conductivity. The complex conductivity spectra are processed by a Debye decomposition procedure. The resulting integrating parameters such as direct current resistivity, total chargeability, normalized chargeability, and mean relaxation time indicate a power law dependence on saturation. Our experiments indicate that the imaginary part of conductivity and normalized chargeability have a high sensitivity related to the drying process of rocks and might be suitable indicators to monitor the changes of moisture content in sandstones.

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