, Volume 26, Issue 2-4, pp 317-328

High Resolution Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) in a Transition Zone Environment: Application for Detailed Internal Architecture and Infilling Processes Study of a Rhône River Paleo-channel

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Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) was applied in a sand-infilled paleo-channel located in the Rhône Delta, in Southern France. The detailed pattern and sedimentological evolution of the channel fill deposits – know from both historical and geological sources – made it the ideal site to test the ERT method. A geoelectrical survey was performed, using the ABEM SAS-4000 multi-electrode array system in March 2003. Very low electrical resistivity values were obtained, ranging from 0.3 to 10 Ohm m, consistent with the high salinity measured in situ (the pore water conductivity was found to range from 0.9 to 1.2 S/m at 25 °C). The electrical resistivity profiles reflect mainly salinity variations. Indeed, in this case, salinity is so high that surface conductivity associated with clay minerals can be safely neglected. ERT provided valuable high-resolution information that complemented other exiting data such as historical information, bathymetric, geological, and lithostratigraphic data, which allowed the architecture of the channel to be defined. The ERT was used to determine the infilling dynamics of the Pégoulier Channel, which opens new perspectives in terms of paleoenvironmental reconstruction and paleodynamic studies.