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International Journal of Geophysics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 640250, 10 pages
Research Article

Implications of Self-Potential Distribution for Groundwater Flow System in a Nonvolcanic Mountain Slope

1Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University, C1-1-113, Kyodai-Katsura, Nishikyo, Kyoto 615-8540, Japan
2Department of Environmental Earth Sciences, Aichi University of Education, 1 Hirosawa, Igaya-cho, Kariya, Aichi 448-8542, Japan
3Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba 305-8572, Japan

Received 10 August 2011; Revised 25 December 2011; Accepted 18 January 2012

Academic Editor: Tsuneo Ishido

Copyright © 2012 Tada-nori Goto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Self-potential (SP) measurements were conducted at Mt. Tsukuba, Japan, which is a nonvolcanic mountain, to infer groundwater flow system in the mountain. Survey routes were set around the northern slope, and the reliability of observed SP anomaly was checked by using SP values along parallel survey routes; the error was almost within 10 mV. The FFT analysis of the spatial SP distribution allows us a separation of raw data into two components with shorter and longer wavelength. In the shorter (altitudinal) wavelength than ∼200 meters, several positive SP peaks of more than 100 mV in magnitude are present, which indicate shallow perched water discharges along the slope. In the regional SP pattern of longer wavelength, there are two major perturbations from the general trend reflecting the topographic effect. By comparing the SP and hydrological data, the perturbation around the foothill is interpreted to be caused by heterogeneous infiltration at the ground surface. The perturbation around the summit is also interpreted to be caused by heterogeneous infiltration process, based on a simplified numerical modeling of SP. As a result, the SP pattern is well explained by groundwater flow and infiltration processes. Thus, SP data is thought to be very useful for understanding of groundwater flow system on a mountain scale.