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Ability of High-Resolution Resistivity Tomography to Detect Fault and Fracture Zones: Application to the Tournemire Experimental Platform

Abstract : The Experimental Platform of Tournemire (Aveyron, France) developed by IRSN (French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety) is composed of a tunnel excavated in an argillite formation belonging to a limestone–argillite–limestone subhorizontal sedimentary sequence. Subvertical secondary fault zones were intercepted in argillite using drifts and boreholes in the tunnel excavated at a depth of about 250 m located under the Larzac Plateau. A 2D 2.5 km baseline large-scale electrical resistivity survey conducted in 2007 allowed detecting in the upper limestones several significantly low electrical resistivity subvertical zones (Gélis et al. Appl Geophys 167(11): 1405–1418, 2010). One of these discontinuities is consistent with the extension towards the surface of the secondary fault zones identified in the argillite formation from the tunnel. In an attempt to better characterize this zone, IRSN and MINES ParisTech conducted a high-resolution electrical resistivity survey located transversally to the fault and fracture zones. A 760-m-long profile was acquired using two array geometries and take-outs of 2, 4 and 8 m, requiring several roll-alongs. These data were first inverted independently for each take-out and then using all take-outs together for a given array geometry. Different inverted 2D electrical resistivity models display the same global features with high (higher than 5000 Ωm) to low (lower than 100 Ωm) electrical resistivity zones. These electrical resistivity models are finally compared with a geological cross-section based on independent data. The subvertical conductive zones are in agreement with the fault and fracture locations inferred from the geological cross-section. Moreover, the top of a more conductive zone, below a high electrical conductive zone and between two subvertical fault zones, is located in a more sandy and argillaceous layer. This conductive zone is interpreted as the presence of a more scattered fracture zone located at depth between two fault zones. This zone could be correlated with the fractured zones identified at 250-m depth in underground works. This study highlights the interest of multi-scale approaches to image complex heterogeneous near subsurface layers. Finally, this study shows that the electrical resistivity tomography is a useful and powerful tool to detect fault and fracture zones in upper limestones. Such a method is complementary to other geophysical and geological data.
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Contributor : Herve Chauris <>
Submitted on : Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 6:40:12 PM
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Céline Gelis, Mark Noble, Justo Cabrera, Sébastien Penz, Hervé Chauris, et al.. Ability of High-Resolution Resistivity Tomography to Detect Fault and Fracture Zones: Application to the Tournemire Experimental Platform. Pure and Applied Geophysics, Springer-Verlag, 2016, 173 (2), pp.573-589. ⟨10.1007/s00024-015-1110-1⟩. ⟨hal-01407157⟩



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