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Report: Evaluating the Use of Electrical Resistivity Sounding to Characterize Aquifers in the Beaufort Watershed, B.C.

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This study used resistivity surveying to characterize the lithology and properties of subsurface materials in comparison to well control points. The methods could be applied to map the vertical and lateral extent of unconsolidated and bedrock aquifers where fewer wells have been constructed, to evaluate aquifer vulnerability to contamination, and to identify areas at risk or affected by sea water intrusion by identifying zones of brackish or saline water.

Author:  Victoria Pereversoff, Lucinda Leonard, Mark Lake, Mike Wei, and Sylvia Barroso

Date Published:  Dec 2022

Report ID:  60397

Audience:  Government and Public

The University of Victoria, in conjunction with the Beaufort Watershed Stewards, a volunteer group, conducted a series of resistivity surveys on the eastern flanks of the Beaufort Range, eastern Vancouver Island, B.C., in the summer of 2021. The purpose of the project was to evaluate resistivity surveying as a cost-effective aquifer mapping tool for in-filling sub-surface lithology between sparse well control points, toward a goal of generating a 3D map of important aquifers. Resistivity soundings were carried out at nine sites from the Bowser to Royston. The ranges in resistivity characteristic of different lithological units of interest were determined. Gravel and sand aquifer units in the study area are characterized by relatively high resistivity values (>500 ohm-m) and are distinguishable from more conductive and less permeable, more clay-rich till and shale bedrock (<300 ohm-m). With an understanding of the local stratigraphy and the resistivity calibration of important units encountered in the control wells in this initial project, it should be possible for future resistivity surveying to contribute to mapping of significant aquifers in areas of the Beaufort Watersheds that lack control wells. The geophysical methods utilized have additional potential applications for aquifer characterization, including evaluating aquifer vulnerability to contamination by mapping the presence, absence and relative thickness of confining sediments, and ground truthing sea water intrusion vulnerability by mapping the depth and lateral extent of the brackish transition zone between fresh water and sea water in coastal aquifers.

Report Type
  Region - Vancouver Island
  Watershed Groups - 920 - Vancouver Island (East) Rivers
  Water Information - Groundwater

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