Delineation of contaminated aquifers using integrated geophysical methods in Northeast Punjab, Pakistan

  • Muhammad HasanEmail author
  • Yanjun Shang
  • Gulraiz Akhter
  • Weijun Jin


A decline in surface water sources in Pakistan is continuously causing the over-extraction of groundwater resources which is in turn costing the saltwater intrusion in many areas of the country. The saltwater intrusion is a major problem in sustainable groundwater development. The application of electrical resistivity methods is one of the best known geophysical approaches in groundwater study. Considering the accuracy in extraction of freshwater resources, the use of resistivity methods is highly successful to delineate the fresh-saline aquifer boundary. An integrated geophysical study of VES and ERI methods was carried out through the analysis and interpretation of resistivity data using Schlumberger array. The main purpose of this investigation was to delineate the fresh/saline aquifer zones for exploitation and management of fresh water resources in the Upper Bari Doab, northeast Punjab, Pakistan. The results suggest that sudden drop in resistivity values caused by the solute salts indicates the saline aquifer, whereas high resistivity values above a specific range reveal the fresh water. However, the overlapping of fresh/saline aquifers caused by the formation resistivity was delineated through confident solutions of the D-Z parameters computed from the VES data. A four-layered unified model of the subsurface geologic formation was constrained by the calibration between formation resistivity and borehole lithologs. i.e., sand and gravel-sand containing fresh water, clay-sand with brackish water, and clay having saline water. The aquifer yield contained within the fresh/saline aquifers was measured by the hydraulic parameters. The fresh-saline interface demarcated by the resistivity methods was confirmed by the geochemical method and the local hydrogeological data. The proposed geophysical approach can delineate the fresh-saline boundary with 90% confidence in any homogeneous or heterogeneous aquifer system.


Fresh water Saline water VES ERI Resistivity Upper Bari Doab 



The authors wish to acknowledge support received from Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing China, and Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Islamabad Pakistan, and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Pakistan.

Funding information

This research was sponsored by CAS-TWAS President’s Fellowship for International PhD Students and financially supported by the National Science and Technology Basic Resources Investigation project (No. 2018FY10050003).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institutions of Earth ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP.R. China
  5. 5.Department of Earth SciencesQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan

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