Characterizing leachate contamination in a landfill site using Time Domain Electromagnetic (TDEM) imaging

Mahad S. Baawain*, Ahmed M. Al-Futaisi, A. Ebrahimi, Hamid Omidvarborna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Time Domain Electromagnetic (TDEM) survey as well as drilling investigations were conducted to identify possible contamination of a dumping site in an unsaturated zone located in Barka, Oman. The method was applied to evaluate conductivity of the contaminated plumes in hot and arid/semiarid region, where high temperatures commonly ranged between 35 and 50 °C. The drilling investigation was carried out over the survey area to verify the geophysical results. The low-resistivity zone (<80 Ωm), encountered near the subsurface, indicated plume migration caused by liquid waste disposal activities. The combination of TDEM survey results with the lithology of piezometers showed that higher resistivity (>90 Ωm) was correlated with compacted or cemented gravels and cobbles, particularly that of medium dense to very dense gravels and cobbles. Additionally, the TDEM profiles suggested that the plume migration followed a preferential flow path. The resistivity range 40–80 Ωm considered as contaminated areas; however, the drilling results showed the close resistivity domain in the depth >70 m below water table for some profiles (BL1, BL2, BL3, BL4 and BL5). The combined results of drilling wells, piezometers, and TDEM apparent resistivity maps showed a coincidence of the migrated leachate plume and water table. Predicted zone of the probable contamination was located at the depth of around 65 m and horizontal offset ranges 0–280 m, 80–240 m, and 40–85 m in the sounding traverses of BL4, BL6 and BL7, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Geophysics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Geophysical survey
  • Groundwater contamination
  • Plume migration
  • Time Domain Electromagnetic (TDEM)
  • Unsaturated zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics


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