Influence of smectite and salinity on the imaginary and surface conductivity of volcanic rocks
L. Levy, A. Weller and B. Gibert
Journal name: Near Surface Geophysics
Issue: Vol 17, No 6, December 2019 pp. 653 - 673
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.42Mb )
Price: € 30
We investigate the complex conductivity behaviour of natural volcanic rocks containing variable amounts of smectite in multi-salinity experiments. We compare the results with relationships established for sandstones. Considering only samples with little volume of metallic particles, we observe similar and small phase-angles at low frequency for all samples at all salinities (less than 25 mrad at 1 Hz). Yet, a wide range of cation exchange capacity, porosity and formation factor is covered by the sample set: 0.5–50 meq/100 g, 4–40% and 18–780, respectively. Our results show that, in the absence of metallic particles, the ratio between imaginary conductivity and surface conductivity is significantly lower for altered volcanic rocks than for sandstones and decreases with the smectite content. These observations indicate that an increased smectite content causes more conduction and less polarization, which could be explained by the onset of a continuous conduction pathway throughout connected interfoliar spaces of smectite. Due to this pathway, cations from the pore fluid may penetrate the solid lattice, for example through connected smectite aggregates clogging the fracture network, thus preventing polarization. We also observe that the relationship between imaginary conductivity and surface conductivity, at one salinity or over the whole salinity range, is not more significant than the relationship between the imaginary conductivity and the total real conductivity. Therefore, we suggest that the imaginary conductivity cannot be used to discriminate the contributions from smectite and pore water to the total conductivity of altered volcanic rocks.