Borehole geophysics applied to ground-water investigations

Open-File Report 87-539




The purpose of this manual is to provide hydrologists, geologists, and others who have the necessary training with the basic information needed to apply the most useful borehole-geophysical-logging techniques to the solution of problems in ground-water hydrology. Geophysical logs can provide information on the construction of wells and on the character of the rocks and fluids penetrated by those wells, in addition to changes in the character of these factors with time. The response of well logs is caused by: petrophysical factors; the quality; temperature, and pressure of interstitial fluids; and ground-water flow. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the analog records and computer analysis of digitized logs are used to derive geohydrologic information. This information can then be extrapolated vertically within a well and laterally to other wells using logs.

The physical principles by which the mechanical and electronic components of a logging system measure properties of rocks, fluids and wells, and the principles of measurement need to be understood to correctly interpret geophysical logs. Planning the logging operation involves selecting the equipment and the logs most likely to provide the needed information. Information on well construction and geohydrology are needed to guide this selection. Quality control of logs is an important responsibility of both the equipment operator and log analyst and requires both calibration and well-site standardization of equipment.

Logging techniques that are widely used in ground-water hydrology or that have significant potential for application to this field include: spontaneous potential, resistance, resistivity, gamma, gamma spectrometry, gamma-gamma, neutron, acoustic velocity, acoustic televiewer, caliper, and fluid temperature, conductivity, and flow. The following topics are discussed for each of these techniques: principles and instrumentation, calibration and standardization, volume of investigation, extraneous effects, and interpretation and applications.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Borehole geophysics applied to ground-water investigations
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Denver, CO
305 p.