Electrical resistivity and seismic refraction tomography to detect buried cavities
E. Cardarelli, M. Cercato, A. Cerreto and G. Di Filippo
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 58, No 4, July 2010 pp. 685 - 695
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.18Mb )
Near-surface cavities can pose serious hazards to human safety, especially in highly urbanized town centres. The location of subsurface voids, the estimation of their size and the evaluation of the overburden thickness are necessary to assess the risk of collapse. In this study, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and seismic refraction tomography data are integrated in a joint interpretation process for cavity location in the city of Rome. ERT is a well established and widely employed method for cavity detection. However, additional information provided by seismic refraction tomography is capable of eliminating some potential pitfalls in resistivity data interpretation. We propose that the structure of the cavities defined by ERT can be used as a base to optimize seismic refraction tomography investigations within the framework of a joint interpretation process. Data integration and the insertion of a priori information are key issues for reducing the uncertainties associated with the inversion process and for optimizing both acquisition procedures and computation time. Herein, the two geophysical methods are tested on both synthetic and real data and the integration of the results is found to be successful in detecting isolated cavities and in assessing their geometrical characteristics. The cavity location inferred by geophysical non-invasive methods has been subsequently confirmed by direct inspection.