7 Types Of Resistivity Instruments & Equipment You Need (& Why)

Have you ever prepared for a vacation, only to arrive at your destination and realize you’d neglected to pack important attire and equipment for your holiday? Recently, in my haste to prepare for a trip, I didn’t make a list and found myself in this very situation—I ended up wearing wool sweaters and jeans in an 80-degree climate. 

While this may seem like a silly example—it was just a few days—not knowing what you need to bring to a survey site has much bigger ramifications. If you bring the wrong geophysical instruments and equipment for a survey, you may not get the best data, or you may find yourself unable to get the data you need at all.

We don’t want you to risk wasting money and time on a survey that is incorrect, so we’ve compiled seven types of geophysical instruments and equipment you need for an electrical resistivity survey.

Geophysical Instruments You Need

1. SuperSting Or MiniSting System

With the MiniSting, you can do vertical electric sounding or 1D testing—commonly done by electrical engineers, grounding and lightning protection engineers, and for fall-of-potential (FOP) testing and ground testing. The MiniSting is our lower-cost instrument, which is ideal for manual resistivity jobs.

With the SuperSting, you can customize the same resistivity meter for myriad purposes using different cables. The SuperSting can do everything the MiniSting does, but it is also more capable—you can do automatic surveys: 1D, 2D, 3D, including  time-lapse monitoring

The SuperSting is ideal for land use, borehole use (monitoring environmental sites for leakage or monitoring a border area for tunnel detection system), and marine use using SuperSting Marine Resistivity, our marine towed electrode system.

2. PowerSting

The PowerSting system is a series of external high-power transmitters—5-kilowatt, 10-kilowatt, and 15-kilowatt—specifically engineered for the SuperSting. It works with multiple applications, including vertical electrical sounding, 2D electrical imaging, 3D electrical imaging, and 3D-offset electrical imaging of a 2D survey line in both manual and automatic modes.

3. PowerSting Transmitter Nodes

PowerSting Transmitter Nodes allow the PowerSting transmitters and SuperSting systems to work together to give you fully automated, high-power data. They make it possible to automatically inject a high-power direct current (DC) into the ground along a survey line for high-powered induced polarization (IP) and resistivity tomography. They are ideal for deep imaging mineral deposits and groundwater. With the 56-node system, you can reach depths of 1,000 meters.

4. Marine Systems
With the SuperSting Marine Resistivity system, surveys can be performed on the bottom of the
sea, from land to sea, or as reconnaissance surveys with an electrode streamer towed behind a boat. This system is useful for bottom investigations for dredging, pile driving, and laying down seabed cable, as well as geotechnical investigations for salt water intake or geological mapping for mineral resources. Stationary electrode cables from land to sea can be used for imaging the fresh/saltwater interface along shore line in time lapse (i.e., low vs. high tide over time).

5. Deep Ocean-Towed System
The OBEi1 Deep Marine system excels at imaging down to one kilometer beneath the water surface where imaging is otherwise difficult. This deep ocean-towed system is pulled by a remotely operated underwater vehicle, while the SuperSting is remotely controlled enhoused in a pressure vessel.

6. EarthImager 3D Or EarthImager 2D

EarthImager 3D is a three-dimensional resistivity and induced polarization (IP) inversion modeling software. It converts electrically gathered data and converts it into a 3D rendering. It is for use in geotechnical and geologic industries, including the following applications:

  • Outlining the shape of caves and voids.
  • Calculating the volume of caves and voids.
  • Visualizing the bedrock surface.
  • Pinpointing precise well location for groundwater exploration.
  • Outlining the shape of an ore body during mineral exploration.
  • Calculating the volume of an ore body during mineral exploration.
  • Mapping the extent of environmental spills.
  • Monitoring the progress of an environmental cleanup procedure.
  • Calculating volumes and extent of sand, gravel, or clay during aggregate mapping.

EarthImager 2D is a two-dimensional inversion modeling software for affordable resistivity and induced polarization (IP) imaging. It interprets data collected by the SuperSting Wi-Fi in just a few clicks, including between parallel boreholes or on a surface line.The data set is processed into a 2D cross-section of the earth. The processed data can be output to various types of files and can be processed into reports ready for submission to the client.

It is used in geotechnical and geologic industries, including the following applications:

  • Cave and void detection.
  • Depth-to-bedrock mapping.
  • Ground water exploration.
  • Mineral exploration.
  • Mapping environmental spills.
  • Monitoring environmental cleanup progress.
  • Aggregate mapping.

7. Graphite Cables

No matter your use case, you will need an appropriate cable to get the best data. We offer several cable types:

What can you use these resistivity instruments for?

Just about every use you can think of. (Just take a look at the dozens of case histories featured on this page). Our clients use their resistivity and IP imaging systems and geophysical equipment in the following applications:

  • Subsurface site characterization (2D and 3D imaging, tomography, and ERT).
  • Groundwater exploration.
  • Cave, void, sinkhole, and other geohazard location.
  • Depth-to-bedrock determination.
  • Landslide hazard mapping.
  • Pollution plume mapping.
    • DNAPL, LNAPL, Brine Plumes, etc.
    • Radioactive waste.
  • Marine 2D and 3D surveys (boat-towed and stationary).
  • Lithology mapping.
  • Mineral exploration.
  • Archaeological site investigation.
  • Monitoring of in-situ remediation processes (such as ammonia injection, desiccation, vitrification, steam injection, pumping, and air-sparging).
  • Monitoring of subsurface processes (such as pump tests, CO2 injection, groundwater recharge, infiltration, saltwater intrusion, tunneling, dam leakage, and mining operations).

Don’t see what you do? Let’s talk about how you can use our tools! Every AGI system is configured specifically for our users—every environment can use these geophysical instruments.