On the applicability of geophysics for groundwater investigations in areas with lack of hydrogeological information. Examples from Mozambique

Farisse Joao Chirindja

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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The work presented in this thesis has aimed to improve the knowledge about the groundwater occurrence in different geological conditions in Mozambique. The main focus in this study has been on the understanding of hydrogeological conditions in area with little background information by use of geophysical investigation. The lack of background information is a problem in many countries because the existing information is not well organized, old reports are missing in the archives and data is not published in scientific journals. In such conditions, the approach of combining different geophysical methods measuring different physical properties of geological material can improve the interpretation.
Four geophysical methods have been assessed regarding their applicability in solving real hydrogeological problems in Sofala and Nampula provinces in Mozambique. The implemented methods are electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), magnetic resonance sounding (MRS), induced polarization (IP) and geophysical borehole logging (BL). Also other methods such slug tests, dilution tests and grain size analyses were included in this study.
The ERT method was used throughout the investigation however the interpretation of the results were often not conclusive due to lack of reference data. The Interpretation of ERT results compared to groundwater extraction rates from new boreholes (in Nampula provincne) showed that areas with a well-developed weathered layer have better potential for groundwater extraction. The MRS method work well in unconsolidated sediments in an attempt to understand the interaction between surface water and groundwater in the Urema floodplain, Sofala province. However, when MRS was used to identify the main reason for low possible groundwater extraction rates in some of the wells, MRS did not work well due to the low signal caused by low water content in combination with different types of noise, both natural and anthropogenic. IP results, presented as normalized chargeability, give a good contrast between clay and sand layers and between clay layers and unweathered rock in Mongicual district, Nampula province. The high value of normalized chargeability found in sand layers in this study are attributed to a content of heavy metal minerals. The electrical conductivity of groundwater increases when these minerals are dissolved. Borehole loggings together with ERT results have shown that the lithological descriptions in the drilling reports are sometimes inconsistent. The inconsistence may be caused by the mix of site information or copy and paste of the description from different reports. As a consequence of this inconsistency, it is expected that even some VES presented in the borehole drilling report are presumably wrong.
Combining hydrogeophysical methods and other non-geophysical methods has proven to be useful when no other information is available. This effort has increased the knowledge of hydrogeological situation in different parts of Mozambique. Therefore, it is recommended to continue this but with more control (to reduce the uncertainties) on how they can be interpreted together and thereby overcome the lack of background data.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Lund University
  • Barmen, Gerhard, Supervisor
Award date2018 Sep 28
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-7753-190-6
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-7753-191-3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 29

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Engineering and Technology

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