Uncertainty of the 2D resistivity survey on the subsurface cavities

Yonatan Garkebo Doyoro, Ping Yu Chang, Jordi Mahardika Puntu

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4 Scopus citations


We examined the uncertainty of the two-dimensional (2D) resistivity method using conceptual cavity models. The experimental cavity study was conducted to validate numerical model results. Spatial resolution and sensitivity to resistivity perturbations were also assessed using checkerboard tests. Conceptual models were simulated to generate synthetic resistivity data for dipole-dipole (DD), pole-dipole (PD),Wenner-Schlumberger (WS), and pole-pole (PP) arrays. The synthetically measured resistivity data were inverted to obtain the geoelectric models. The highest anomaly effect (1.46) and variance (24,400 Ω. m) in resistivity data were recovered by the DD array, whereas the PP array obtained the lowest anomaly effect (0.60) and variance (2401 Ω. m) for the shallowest target cavity set at 2.2 m depth. The anomaly effect and variance showed direct dependency on the quality of the inverted models. The DD array provided the highest model resolution that shows relatively distinct anomaly geometries. In contrast, the PD and WS arrays recovered good resolutions, but it is challenging to determine the correct anomaly geometries with them. The PP array reproduced the lowest resolution with less precise anomaly geometries. Moreover, all the tested arrays showed high sensitivity to the resistivity contrasts at shallow depth. The DD and WS arrays displayed the higher sensitivity to the resistivity perturbations compared to the PD and PP arrays. The inverted models showed a reduction in sensitivity, model resolution, and accuracy at deeper depths, creating ambiguity in resistivity model interpretations. Despite these uncertainties, our modeling specified that two-dimensional resistivity imaging is a potential technique to study subsurface cavities. We inferred that the DD array is the most appropriate for cavity surveys. The PD and WS arrays are adequate, while the PP array is the least suitable for cavity studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3143
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Cavity
  • Depth of investigation
  • Modeling
  • Resistivity imaging
  • Resolution
  • Sensitivity
  • Uncertainty


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