Inter-borehole electrical resistivity imaging of englacial drainage

Bryn Hubbard, Andrew Binley, Lee Slater, Roy Middleton, Bernd Kulessa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


Borehole-based electrical resistivity surveys have the capacity to enhance our understanding of the structure of englacial drainage pathways in temperate ice. We summarize inter-borehole electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) as currently used in hydrogeological investigations and as adapted for imaging englacial drainage. ERT connections were successfully made for the first time in glacier ice, following artificial mineralization of borehole waters at Haut Glacier d’Arolla, Switzerland. Here, two types of electrical connection were made between boreholes spaced up to 10 m apart and drilled to depths of between 20 and 60 m. Most tests indicated the presence of resistively homogeneous ice with uniform bulk resistivities of ~108 - 109 Ω m. However, ERT was also successfully used to identify and characterize a hydraulically conductive englacial fracture that intersected two boreholes at a depth of ~ 13 m below the glacier surface. The presence of this connecting void was suggested by drilling records and verified by dual borehole-impulse testing. The reconstructed tomogram for these boreholes is characterized by a background ice-resistivity field of ~109 Ω m that is disrupted at a depth of ~13 m by a sharp, sub-horizontal low-resistivity zone (~10 4 Ω m). Inter-borehole ERT, therefore, has the capacity to image both uniform and fractured temperate glacier ice
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-435
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number147
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 1998


Dive into the research topics of 'Inter-borehole electrical resistivity imaging of englacial drainage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this