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Moisture monitoring in clay embankments using electrical resistivity tomography

Gunn, D.A.; Chambers, J.E.; Uhlemann, S.; Wilkinson, P.B.; Meldrum, P.I.; Dijkstra, T.A.; Haslam, E.; Kirkham, M.; Wragg, J.; Holyoake, S.; Hughes, P.N.; Hen-Jones, R.; Glendinning, S.

Moisture monitoring in clay embankments using electrical resistivity tomography Thumbnail


D.A. Gunn

J.E. Chambers

S. Uhlemann

P.B. Wilkinson

P.I. Meldrum

T.A. Dijkstra

E. Haslam

M. Kirkham

J. Wragg

S. Holyoake

R. Hen-Jones

S. Glendinning


Systems and methods are described for monitoring temporal and spatial moisture content changes in clay embankments using electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) imaging. The methodology is based upon development of a robust relationship between fill resistivity and moisture content and its use in the transformation of resistivity image differences in terms of relative moisture content changes. Moisture level and moisture content movement applications are exemplified using two case histories from the UK. The first is the BIONICS embankment, near Newcastle (NE England), which was constructed in 2005 using varying degrees of compaction of a medium plasticity sandy, silty clay derived from the Durham Till. The second is a Victorian embankment south of Nottingham (Central England), constructed in 1897 using end tipping of Late Triassic siltstone and mudstone taken from local cuttings. Climate change forecasts for the UK suggest that transportation earthworks will be subjected to more sustained, higher temperatures and increased intensity of rainfall. Within the context of preventative geotechnical asset maintenance, ERT imaging can provide a monitoring framework to manage moisture movement and identify failure trigger conditions within embankments, thus supporting on demand inspection scheduling and low cost early interventions.


Gunn, D., Chambers, J., Uhlemann, S., Wilkinson, P., Meldrum, P., Dijkstra, T., …Glendinning, S. (2015). Moisture monitoring in clay embankments using electrical resistivity tomography. Construction and Building Materials, 92, 82-94.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 5, 2014
Publication Date Sep 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jan 11, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2016
Journal Construction and Building Materials
Print ISSN 0950-0618
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 92
Pages 82-94


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