We have studied seismoelectric (SE) surface-wave signals and found that they can be used to infer changes in the SE coupling properties at depth. SE surface-wave signals have much higher amplitudes than SE body-wave signals. We measured the seismic and the electrical potential or electromagnetic (EM) field along the surface of the earth. We used dispersive relative spectral amplitudes (DRSAs) that measure the frequency-dependent relative strength of electrical signals versus seismic signals associated with SE surface-wave signals. We find that DRSAs have sensitivity to contrasts in the electrokinetic coupling coefficient and other relevant petrophysical properties at depth. Our discovery can mitigate the major limitation that plagues body-wave-based SE methods: the relative weakness of the converted EM signals from seismic body waves. We envision applications to characterize subsurface rock, fluid, and fluid-flow properties (e.g., porosity, permeability, and dynamic fluid viscosity, salinity) in the near surface, for aquifers, and shallow geothermal reservoirs.

You do not currently have access to this article.