Electric potential variations associated with yearly lake level variations

Frédéric Perrier, Michaël Trique, Benoit Lorne, Jean Philippe Avouac, Sophie Hautot, Pascal Tarits

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48 Citations (Scopus)


Electric potential variations have been recorded from November 1995 to February 1996 and continuously since October 1996 at 14 measurement points on a one km wide ridge separating two lakes in the French Alps. The levels of the lakes vary by several tens of meters on a yearly cycle, inducing stress variations and fluid percolation. At one point, unambiguous variations as large as 120 mV are observed over a year, linearly correlated with the levels of the lakes with a magnitude of 2 mV per meter of water level change. This particular measurement point lies at the edge of a SP anomaly, which supports the presence of a localized zone of ground water flow forced by the lake level, suggesting an electrokinetic mechanism. The observed correlation implies a ζ-potential of the order of -8 mV for a 60 Ωm electrolyte, in agreement with laboratory measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1955-1958
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 1998


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