DIY Geophysics

In 2012 I was temporarily housebound. I used the time to explore an interest I had in geophysics, specifically resistivity surveying.

I read a paper by Bruce Bevan which included a figure showing how simple the principle of resistivity is and how it can be carried out using nothing more than four nails, a battery and a multi-meter.

I was intrigued so I set out to make my own. My first attempt at building a meter saw me wire the four nails to two multi-meters and a switch (allowing me to turn the battery on-and-off).

Dairsie Resistivity meter mk1
Dairsie Resistivity meter mk1

After a couple weeks I had built a second meter, using a Raspberry Pi as a data logger. This can be seen working here on my YouTube channel. The blueprints can be downloaded as a PDF here.

The results were plotted using a simple grey scale in Python. For such a basic setup I think the output is remarkable. The main issue going forward is speed. It is very slow!

Dairsie Mill survey
An example of the DIY resistivity meter’s output.
A small survey over a buried mill lade near Dairsie Mill.
Cropmarks near Diarsie Mill.
Cropmarks near Diarsie Mill.
20m x 20m survey over one of the cropmarks near Dairsie Mill.
20m x 20m survey over one of the cropmarks near Dairsie Mill.

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