Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 699–712 | Cite as

Integrated geoelectrical resistivity, hydrochemical and soil property analysis methods to study shallow groundwater in the agriculture area, Machang, Malaysia

  • Nur IslamiEmail author
  • Samsudin Hj Taib
  • Ismail Yusoff
  • Azman Abdul Ghani
Original Article


Integrated geoelectrical resistivity, hydrochemical and soil property analysis methods were used to study the groundwater characteristics of sandy soils within a shallow aquifer in the agriculture area, Machang. A pilot test investigation was done prior to the main investigation. The area was divided into two sites. Test-Site 1 is non-fertilized; Test-Site 2 is the former regularly fertilized site. From the surface to depths of 75 cm, a lower average resistivity was obtained in Test-Site 2 (around 0.37 less than in Test-Site 1). The presence of nitrate and chloride contents in pore water reduced the resistivity values despite the low moisture content. The pH values for the whole area range from 4.11 to 6.88, indicating that the groundwater is moderately to slightly acidic. In the southern region, concentration of nitrate is considered to be high (>20 mg/l), while it is nearly zero in the northern region. In the south, the soil properties are similar. However, the geoelectrical model shows lower resistivity values (around 18 Ω m) at the sites with relatively high nitrate concentration in the groundwater (>20 mg/l). Conversely, the sites with low nitrate concentration reveal the resistivity values to be higher (>35 Ω m). Basement and groundwater potential maps are generated from the interpolation of an interpreted resistivity model. The areas that possibly have nitrate-contaminated groundwater have been mapped along with groundwater flow patterns. The northern part of the area has an east to west groundwater flow pattern, making it impossible for contaminated water from the southern region to enter, despite the northern area having a lower elevation.


Groundwater Resistivity Hydrochemical Nitrate 



The financial support through the Universiti Malaya (University of Malaya) research grants PJPFS308/2008C is gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks are due to the field crew and clerical staff of the Department of Geology, Universiti Malaya, for assistance during fieldwork and in the preparation of this paper. Finally, Prof. Charles Strachan Hutchison’s English corrections are greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nur Islami
    • 1
    Email author
  • Samsudin Hj Taib
    • 1
  • Ismail Yusoff
    • 1
  • Azman Abdul Ghani
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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