New method will help prospect for groundwater and look for damages in dams

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from Skoltech and St. Petersburg State University have proposed a mathematical method for interpreting groundwater data, which will help to more efficiently and more accurately visualize underground flows when monitoring the condition of dams, construction, and drilling wells for the needs of industry, agriculture and private consumption.

The study is published in IEEE Transa ctions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing . The study of underground water flows is necessary for the safe operation of dams, construction, and the search for fresh water.

Groundwater can erode building foundations and other structures, such as those that are part of the subway.

Water flows also indicate vulnerabilities in dams that pose a risk of breakthrough. In arid regions such as Spain, Israel, Australia, southern Russia, groundwater mapping helps tap this valuable resource for water supply.

New method will help prospect for groundwater and look for damages in dams

In the last 10 years , measurements of the natural electric field have been actively used to visualize underground water flows . This approach is based on the discovery that water, when filtered through porous rock, creates an electrical potential from which fluid flows can be detected.

Although modern technology can accurately measure the electrical potential at the surface, reconstructing the location of water streams from it is a more difficult task.

Until now, there has not been a mathematical method for processing natural field data that accurately takes into account the difficult terrain and quickly works on a large amount of data.

This method was proposed by the authors of an article recently published in the IEEE TGRS – Russian scientists from Skoltech and St. Petersburg State University.

The new method is suitable for fast processing of a large number of measurements. In addition, it accurately takes into account the complex geometry of the computational domain, which is especially important for predicting dam breakthroughs: the complex geometry of these structures strongly affects the distribution of the electrical potential.

“Ultimately, the result of our research is a noticeable improvement in the quality of geophysical interpretation,” commented on the work of its first author, Skoltech researcher Mikhail Malovichko. – The mathematician will say: we have increased the accuracy of solving the inverse problem. Given the improvement in rendering quality, we believe this approach holds great promise in the industry. ”

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