AIMS Geosciences, 2017, 3(1): 1-13. doi: 10.3934/geosci.2017.1.1.

Research article

Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Dam Seepage Investigation of an Earthfill Dam in Warren County, Missouri Using Geophysical Methods

Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla, Missouri

Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), induced polarization (IP) and spontaneous potential (SP) data were acquired across and in proximity to a leaking earth-fill dam (Wolf Creek dam) in Warren County, Missouri. The objectives were to identify and map probable seepage pathways through the dam and to determine if the outlet works drainage pipe used in the construction of the dam was leaking. On the basis of the integrated interpretation of the acquired geophysical data two probable seepage pathways through the leaking earth-fill dam were identified and mapped. These two pathways are referred to as the Groin Leak and Water Fall Leak, respectively. The Groin Leak and Water Fall Leak seepage pathways are both characterized by relatively low resistivity and low chargeability. It is also concluded that there is high probability that water is leaking from the downstream end of the outlet works drainage pipe. The interpreted drainage pipe leak (Outlet works Leak) is characterized by relatively low resistivity, high chargeability and negative self-potential values.
  Article Metrics

Keywords earthfill dam; seepage; electrical resistivity tomography; induced polarization; spontaneous potential

Citation: Stanley C. Nwokebuihe, Abdulrahman M. Alotaibi, Adel Elkrry, Evgeniy V. Torgashov, Neil L. Anderson. Dam Seepage Investigation of an Earthfill Dam in Warren County, Missouri Using Geophysical Methods. AIMS Geosciences, 2017, 3(1): 1-13. doi: 10.3934/geosci.2017.1.1


  • 1. National Inventory of Dams (NID), 2015. Retrieved from:
  • 2. Ikard S (2013) Geoelectric monitoring of seepage in porous media with engineering applications to earthen dams. Dissertations & Theses- Gradworks.
  • 3. Foster M, Fell R, Spannagle M (2000) The Statistics of Embankment Dam Failures and Accidents. Can Geotech J 37: 1000-1024.    
  • 4. Ogilvy AA, Ayed M.A, Bogoslovsky VA (1969) Geophysical Studies for water seepages from reservoirs. Geophys Prospect 17: 36-62.    
  • 5. Abdel GZ, Ismail AM, Anderson NL, et al (2013) Geophysical Investigation of Seepage from an Earth Fill Dam, Washington County, Missouri, Presented at the 3rd International Conference on Applied Geophysics, Orlando, FL.
  • 6. Lin C, Hung Y, Yu Z, et al (2013) Investigation of Abnormal Seepages in an Earth dam using Resistivity Tomography. J Geoengin 8: 61-70.
  • 7. Nwosu LI, Nwankwo CN, Ekine AS (2011) Correlation of Self Potential (SP) and Resistivity Survey methods for Evaluation of Groundwater potentials: Case Study of Imo State, Nigeria. Appl Phys Res 3
  • 8. Song S, Song Y, Kwon B (2005) Application of hydrological and geophysical methods to delineate leakage pathways in an earth fill dam. Explor Geophys 36: 92-96.    
  • 9. Foster M, Fell R, Davidson R, et al (2002) Estimation of the Probability of Failure of Embankment Dams by Internal Erosion and Piping Using Event Tree Methods. Australian National Committee on Large Dams, Bulletin 121: 75-82.
  • 10. Reynolds JM (1997) An Introduction to Applied and Environmental Geophysics. John Wiley & Sons 516-518.
  • 11. Sirles P (1997) Seepage Investigation Using Geophysical Techniques at Coursier Lake Dam, B. C., Canada. Symposium of the Geophysical Application to Environmental and Engineering Problems (SAGGEP), Reno-Nevada, 1: 321-331.
  • 12. Corwin RW and Butler DK (1989) Geotechnical Application of the Self-Potential Method, Report 3, Development of Self-Potential Interpretation Techniques for Seepage Detection. Technical Report REMR-GT-6. US Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC.
  • 13. Butler DK, Llopis JL, Deaver CM, (1989) Comprehensive geophysical investigation of an existing dam foundation: Part 1. Geophysics: The Leading Edge of Exploration.
  • 14. Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), 2016. Retrieved from:
  • 15., 2015. Retrieved from:
  • 16., 2014. Retrieved from:
  • 17. Golden software, 2014. Retrieved from:


This article has been cited by

  • 1. Akpofure Orubu, Mohamed A. Khalil, Bradley Rutherford, Glenn Shaw, Ali Gebril, Camela Carstarphen, Geophysical investigation of dewatering in Lolo Creek, Southwest Missoula, Montana, USA, Journal of Applied Geophysics, 2018, 155, 149, 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2018.06.014

Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

Copyright Info: 2017, Stanley C. Nwokebuihe, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved