Acta Geophysica

, Volume 67, Issue 6, pp 1845–1863 | Cite as

Using Vertical Electrical Soundings to characterize seawater intrusions in the southern area of Romanian Black Sea coastline

  • Bogdan Mihai NiculescuEmail author
  • Gina Andrei
Research Article - Special Issue


Seawater intrusions are a major environmental hazard for coastal freshwater aquifers. They are generated mainly by the uncontrolled exploitation of freshwater in pumping stations, if the aquifers are in hydraulic connection with the sea. In Romania, such marine intrusions have occurred in the southern part of Black Sea’s coastline, in Costinești and Vama Veche resorts, contaminating the main aquifers hosted in Sarmatian (late Middle Miocene) limestones, at distances ranging from hundreds of meters to over 2 km inland. For the study of these salinization phenomena, Vertical Electrical Sounding (VES) surveys were performed in the affected areas. These surveys allowed the delineation and spatial–temporal monitoring of the intrusions and offered information related to faults that may have provided pathways for seawater migration toward the exploitation wells. The 1D interpretation of VES apparent resistivity data was performed via a set of novel software applications. The forward modeling component of the applications uses digital linear filtering and allows the simulation of theoretical VES responses for horizontally-layered geological media with virtually unlimited number of layers. The pseudo-inversion component of the applications is based on a random sampling of the parameters space of the geoelectrical models. The interpretation of VES surveys recorded in Vama Veche area by using the elaborated software indicates that the seawater intrusion occurs at more than 40 m depth. This agrees with a well flow test which produced saltwater at 40–60 m depth in that area.


Black Sea Coastal aquifers Numerical filters Resistivity modeling Seawater intrusion Vertical Electrical Sounding 



Part of the geoelectrical data used in this study were recorded in field campaigns financed by the Romanian National University Research Council (CNCSIS), project PNII-IDEI 992/2009-2010. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the reviewers who carefully analyzed the manuscript and provided valuable comments and suggestions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. Binley A, Kemna A (2005) DC resistivity and induced polarization methods. In: Rubin Y, Hubbard SS (eds) Hydrogeophysics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 129–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cazacu GB (2015) Dobrogea geology. In: Maftei C (ed) Extreme weather and impacts of climate change on water resources in the Dobrogea region. IGI Global, Pennsylvania, pp 73–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Conea A (1970) Quaternary formations in Dobrogea (loess and paleo soils). Publishing House of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest (in Romanian) Google Scholar
  4. Das UC, Ghosh DP (1974) The determination of filter coefficients for the computation of standard curves for dipole resistivity sounding over layered earth by linear digital filtering. Geophys Prospect 2(4):765–780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Georgescu P, Dinu C, Niculescu V, Ion D (1993) Some applications of VES to groundwater exploration in the vicinity of the Romanian coast of the Black Sea. Rev Roum Géophys 37:113–121Google Scholar
  6. Georgescu P, Ioane D, Niculescu BM, Chitea F (2009) Long-time Geoelectrical modeling of groundwater contamination—case studies from Romania. In: Near surface 2009—15th European meeting of environmental and engineering geophysics, Dublin, Ireland, Extended Abstracts, paper P10,
  7. Georgescu P, Ioane D, Niculescu BM, Chitea F (2010) Geoelectrical investigations of marine intrusions on the Romanian Black Sea Shore. GeoEcoMarina 16:95–102Google Scholar
  8. Ghosh DP (1971) The application of linear filter theory to the direct interpretation of geoelectrical resistivity sounding measurements. Geophys Prospect 19:192–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goldman M, Kafri U (2006) Hydrogeophysical applications in coastal aquifers. In: Vereecken H, Binley A, Cassiani G, Revil A, Titov K (eds) Applied hydrogeophysics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 233–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldman M, Gilad D, Ronen A, Melloul A (1991) Mapping of seawater intrusion into the coastal aquifer of Israel by the time domain electromagnetic method. Geoexploration 28:153–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Goldman M, Gvirtzman H, Meju M, Shtivelman V (2005) Hydrogeophysical case studies at the regional scale. In: Rubin Y, Hubbard SS (eds) Hydrogeophysics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 361–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guptasarma D (1982) Optimization of short digital linear filters for increased accuracy. Geophys Prospect 30:501–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kobr M, Mareš S, Paillet F (2005) Borehole geophysics for hydrogeological studies: principles and applications. In: Rubin Y, Hubbard SS (eds) Hydrogeophysics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 291–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Koefoed O (1970) A fast method for determining the layer distribution from the raised kernel function in geoelectrical soundings. Geophys Prospect 18:564–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Liteanu E, Ghenea C (1966) Quaternary from Romania. Technical and Economic Studies, Series H, Nr. 1, Comitetul Geologic, Bucharest, Romania (in Romanian) Google Scholar
  16. Moroșanu I (2007) Romanian continental plateau of the Black Sea: tectonic-sedimentary evolution and hydrocarbon potential. Oscar Print Publishing House, BucharestGoogle Scholar
  17. Mościcki WJ (2011) The use of the DC resistivity sounding in high mountain areas—example from periglacial zone of the Sucha Woda Valley (Tatra Mts., Poland). Studia Geomorphologica Carpatho-Balcanica XLV:107–120, ISSN 0081-6434Google Scholar
  18. Mutihac V, Stratulat IM, Fechet RM (2004) Geology of Romania. Didactic and Pedagogic Publishing House, Bucharest (in Romanian) Google Scholar
  19. O’Neill DJ (1975) Improved linear coefficients for application in apparent resistivity computations. Bull Aust Soc Explor Geophys 6(4):104–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Paillet FL (2002) Spatial scale analysis in geophysics—integrating surface and borehole geophysics in groundwater studies. In: Singhroy VF, Hansen DT, Pierce RR, Johnson AIIA (eds) Spatial methods for solution of environmental and hydrologic problems—science, policy, and standardization. ASTM International Special Technical Publication, West Conshohocken, pp 77–91Google Scholar
  21. Paillet FL, Hite L, Carlson M (1999) Integrating surface and borehole geophysics in ground water studies—an example using electromagnetic soundings in south Florida. J Environ Eng Geophys 4(1):45–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Paine JG, Minty BRS (2005) Airborne hydrogeophysics. In: Rubin Y, Hubbard SS (eds) Hydrogeophysics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 333–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Parasnis DS (1986) Principles of applied geophysics, 4th edn. Chapman and Hall, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Săndulescu M (1984) Geotectonics of Romania. Technical Publishing House, Bucharest (in Romanian) Google Scholar
  25. Sheriff SD (1992a) Spreadsheet modeling of electrical sounding experiments. Ground Water 30(6):971–974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sheriff SD (1992b) Forward modeling of electrical sounding experiments using convolution and a spreadsheet. Comput Geosci 18(1):75–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Telford WM, Geldart LP, Sheriff RE (1990) Applied geophysics, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Țenu A, Davidescu F, Echinger L, Voerkelius S (1997) Quality evaluation of groundwaters in Southern Dobrogea. Theor Appl Karstol 10:63–77Google Scholar
  29. Visarion M, Săndulescu M, Roșca V, Stănică D, Atanasiu L (1990) La Dobrogea dans le cadre de l’avant pays Carpatique. Rev Roum Géophys 34:55–65Google Scholar
  30. Werner AD, Bakker M, Post VEA, Vandenbohede A, Lu C, Ataie-Ashtiani B, Simmons CT, Barry DA (2013) Seawater intrusion processes, investigation and management: recent advances and future challenges. Adv Water Resour 51:3–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yang C-H, Tong L-T, Huang C-F (1999) Combined application of DC and TEM to sea-water intrusion mapping. Geophysics 64:417–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zohdy AAR (1989) A new method for the automatic interpretation of Schlumberger and Wenner sounding curves. Geophysics 54(2):245–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences & Polish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysics, Faculty of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania

Personalised recommendations