Mapping localised freshwater anomalies in the brackish paleo-lake sediments of the Machile–Zambezi Basin with transient electromagnetic sounding, geoelectrical imaging and induced polarisation

Mkhuzo Chongo, Anders Vest Christiansen, Gianluca Fiandaca, Imasiku A. Nyambe, Flemming Larsen, Peter Bauer-Gottwein

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

433 Downloads (Pure)


A recent airborne TEM survey in the Machile–Zambezi Basin of south western Zambia revealed high electrical resistivity anomalies (around 100 Ωm) in a low electrical resistivity (below 13 Ωm) background. The near surface (0–40 m depth range) electrical resistivity distribution of these anomalies appeared to be coincident with superficial features related to surface water such as alluvial fans and flood plains. This paper describes the application of transient electromagnetic soundings (TEM) and continuous vertical electrical sounding (CVES) using geo-electrics and time domain induced polarisation to evaluate a freshwater lens across a flood plain on the northern bank of the Zambezi River at Kasaya in south western Zambia. Coincident TEM and CVES measurements were conducted across the Simalaha Plain from the edge of the Zambezi River up to 6.6 km inland. The resulting TEM, direct current and induced polarisation data sets were inverted using a new mutually and laterally constrained joint inversion scheme. The resulting inverse model sections depict a freshwater lens sitting on top of a regional saline aquifer. The fresh water lens is about 60 m thick at the boundary with the Zambezi River and gradually thins out and deteriorates in water quality further inland. It is postulated that the freshwater lens originated as a result of interaction between the Zambezi River and the salty aquifer in a setting in which evapotranspiration is the net climatic stress. Similar high electrical resistivity bodies were also associated with other surface water features located in the airborne surveyed area.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Geophysics
Pages (from-to)81-92
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • TEM
  • DCIP
  • Joint inversion
  • Zambia
  • Sambezi river
  • Surface water/ groundwater interaction

Cite this