Electrical Conductivity (EC)

Soil conductivity and resistivity (the inverse of conductivity) have long been used as tools to classify soils. The power of this tool stems from the fact that higher electrical conductivities are representative of finer grained sediments, such as silts or clays, while sands and gravels are characterized by distinctly lower electrical conductivities. A few site specific core samples, either from discrete depths or a continuous core, can be used to verify the lithology represented by electrical conductivity values at a site. The electrical logs are then correlated across the site to show changes in thickness or elevation of lithologic units of interest. Soil conductivity logging continues to increase in usage because conductivity logging can be efficiently performed with the highly mobile and cost-effective percussion probing equipment . . . the Direct Image® Electrical Conductivity (EC) System.

EC logs are used to define zones of lower conductivity, equivalent to coarser grained, more permeable sediments, which will allow the movement of contaminants (fertilizers, salts, hydrocarbons, chlorinated VOCs, or metals) in the subsurface. The lithologic information gathered with the Conductivity System can be used to aid the investigator in understanding the movement and location of contaminants in the subsurface. This information will also assist in the proper placement of monitoring or extraction wells.

The EC probes come in two different configurations, Dipole Array and Wenner Array, with the same theory of operation. A current is sent through the formation between two probe contacts. This current is measured along with the voltage that results. The conductivity is a ratio of current to voltage times a constant. The resulting reading is in milli-Siemens per meter (mS/m).


 

Features & Benefits...

  • Measures soil conductivity and probing speed simultaneously.
  • Greatly reduces soil core required to characterize lithology.
  • Real-time, on-screen log during probing.
  • Cost-effective alternative to borehole logging or cone penetrometers.
  • Designed for percussion probing.
  • Spreadsheet compatible data storage.

Acknowledgements 

 EC SPECS (PDF)