An introduction to electrical resistivity in geophysics

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Journal Article: An introduction to electrical resistivity in geophysics


Physicists are finding that the skills they have learned in their training may be applied to areas beyond traditional physics topics. One such field is that of geophysics. This paper presents the electrical resistivity component of an undergraduate geophysics course at Radford University. It is taught from a physics perspective, yet the application of the theory to the real world is the overriding goal. The concepts involved in electrical resistivity studies are first discussed in a general sense, and then they are studied through the application of the relevant electromagnetic theory. Since geology majors comprise the bulk of the students in this class, the math used is only that which is typically required of geology majors. The final results are given in a form that practicing geophysicists may use in the field. A method is presented for constructing an inexpensive apparatus for measuring electrical resistivity in both a tabletop laboratory setting and in the field. This apparatus is truly ‘‘plug and play’’ since its assembly and use requires only the most basic knowledge of electronics.

This apparatus is tested in a tabletop laboratory setting as well as in two field surveys.

Rhett Herman

Published Journal 
American Journal of Physics, 2001


Internet link for An introduction to electrical resistivity in geophysics


Rhett Herman. 2001. An introduction to electrical resistivity in geophysics. American Journal of Physics. 69(9):943-952.