Estimating soil suction from electrical resistivity
Abstract. Soil suction and resistivity strongly depend on the degree of soil saturation and, therefore, both are used for estimating water content variations. The main difference between them is that soil suction is measured using tensiometers, which give point information, while resistivity is obtained by tomography surveys, which provide distributions of resistivity values in large volumes, although with less accuracy. In this paper, we have related soil suction to electrical resistivity with the aim of obtaining information about soil suction changes in large volumes, and not only for small areas around soil suction probes. We derived analytical relationships between soil matric suction and electrical resistivity by combining the empirical laws of van Genuchten and Archie. The obtained relationships were used to evaluate maps of soil suction values in different ashy layers originating in the explosive activity of the Mt Somma-Vesuvius volcano (southern Italy). Our findings provided a further example of the high potential of geophysical methods in contributing to more effective monitoring of soil stress conditions; this is of primary importance in areas where rainfall-induced landslides occur periodically.