Skip to main content

Time-lapse imaging of subglacial drainage conditions using three-dimensional inversion of borehole electrical resistivity data

The full text article is not available for purchase.

The publisher only permits individual articles to be downloaded by subscribers.


We recorded electrical resistivity data at the base of four boreholes drilled through Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. The data were acquired repetitively every hour over two diurnal hydrological cycles in the late melt season, separated by 10 days. Constrained three-dimensional (3-D) data inversion allowed reconstruction of hourly variations in bulk resistivity in the subglacial sediment layer. Inverted resistivity models reflect the establishment of channelized subglacial drainage in the study area between the two hydrological cycles, in agreement with previous work. Daily variations in bulk and water resistivity are in phase, and bulk resistivity amplitudes decrease away from the subglacial channel. Using selected electrical–hydraulic relationships, we estimate metre-scale changes in the hydraulic conductivity and porosity of the subglacial sediment layer, accounting for increasing clay content and decreasing median grain radius with distance from the channel. Hydraulic conductivity and porosity were respectively calculated to decrease from (6.4 ± 2.1) 10−2 ms−1 and 0.34 ± 0.01 at the channel to (3.3 ± 2.2) 10−;2 ms−1 and 0.26 ± 0.01 at a distance of 5 m from it. The hydraulic conductivity estimates are in agreement with previously inferred values, and the porosity estimates fall within the expected range for unlithified subglacial sediments. We conclude that collection and inversion of repeat 3-D subglacial resistivity data is feasible and has the capacity to generate multidimensional images of subglacial hydraulic processes and properties.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-01-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.

    Beginning in 2016, content will be available at
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more