Geotechnical investigation of the El-Elb dam site, northwest Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, using 2D resistivity and ground-penetrating radar techniques

  • Sattam Almadani
  • Elkhedr Ibrahim
  • Mahfooz Hafez
  • Hussain Alfaifi
  • Talal Alharbi
  • Kamal Abdelrahman
  • Essam Abdel-Motaal
Original Paper


In the present study, the existence of cavities, voids, and fractures was verified at the site of the El-Elb Dam, which is located to the northwest of Riyadh City across Wadi Hanifa, using 2D electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) techniques. For this purpose, four ERT profiles were measured on the downstream side of the El-Elb Dam using the Syscal Pro Switch-72 resistivity meter. In addition, a GPR survey using a 400-MHz antenna and a SIR-3000 instrument was conducted along five profiles above the stilling basins on the downstream side of the dam and one radar profile was measured outside the stilling basins area across the course of the wadi. The resultant geophysical data were interpreted with the aid of information from a field-based structural and stratigraphic evaluation of the outcropped bedrock on the banks of the wadi course. The analysis of the inverted ERT and filtered radar sections revealed several resistivity and electromagnetic reflection anomalies that are identified laterally and vertically across the measured sections. These anomalies indicate the presence of fractures and karst features affected the limestone bedrock in the dam site. These near-surface karstified and fractured strata represent a critical hazard to the structural safety of the dam.


El-Elb dam Electrical resistivity Ground-penetrating radar Cavity Fracture Limestone bedrock 



The authors would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding this research group No. RGP-1436-010.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sattam Almadani
    • 1
  • Elkhedr Ibrahim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mahfooz Hafez
    • 3
  • Hussain Alfaifi
    • 1
  • Talal Alharbi
    • 1
  • Kamal Abdelrahman
    • 1
    • 3
  • Essam Abdel-Motaal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology, College of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Geology, Faculty of ScienceMansoura UniversityMansouraEgypt
  3. 3.National Research Institute of Astronomy and GeophysicsCairoEgypt

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