New methods are required to combine the information contained in the passive electrical and seismic signals to detect, localize and monitor hydromechanical disturbances in porous media. We propose a field experiment showing how passive seismic and electrical data can be combined together to detect a preferential flow path associated with internal erosion in a Earth dam. Continuous passive seismic and electrical (self-potential) monitoring data were recorded during a 7-d full-scale levee (earthen embankment) failure test, conducted in Booneschans, Netherlands in 2012. Spatially coherent acoustic emissions events and the development of a self-potential anomaly, associated with induced concentrated seepage and internal erosion phenomena, were identified and imaged near the downstream toe of the embankment, in an area that subsequently developed a series of concentrated water flows and sand boils, and where liquefaction of the embankment toe eventually developed. We present a new 4-D grid-search algorithm for acoustic emissions localization in both time and space, and the application of the localization results to add spatially varying constraints to time-lapse 3-D modelling of self-potential data in the terms of source current localization. Seismic signal localization results are utilized to build a set of time-invariant yet spatially varying model weights used for the inversion of the self-potential data. Results from the combination of these two passive techniques show results that are more consistent in terms of focused ground water flow with respect to visual observation on the embankment. This approach to geophysical monitoring of earthen embankments provides an improved approach for early detection and imaging of the development of embankment defects associated with concentrated seepage and internal erosion phenomena. The same approach can be used to detect various types of hydromechanical disturbances at larger scales.
Marine Geosciences and Applied Geophysics
Oxford University Press
on behalf of
The Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft (DGG) and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).