Aquifer potential assessment in termites manifested locales using geo-electrical and surface hydraulic measurement parameters

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sensors (Switzerland), 2019, 19 (9)
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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. In some parts of tropical Africa, termite mound locations are traditionally used to site groundwater structures mainly in the form of hand-dug wells with high success rates. However, the scientific rationale behind the use of mounds as prospective sites for locating groundwater structures has not been thoroughly investigated. In this paper, locations and structural features of termite mounds were mapped with the aim of determining the aquifer potential beneath termite mounds and comparing the same with adjacent areas, 10 m away. Soil and species sampling, field surveys and laboratory analyses to obtain data on physical, hydraulic and geo-electrical parameters from termite mounds and adjacent control areas followed. The physical and hydraulic measurements demonstrated relatively higher infiltration rates and lower soil water content on mound soils compared with the surrounding areas. To assess the aquifer potential, vertical electrical soundings were conducted on 28 termite mounds sites and adjacent control areas. Three (3) important parameters were assessed to compute potential weights for each Vertical Electrical Sounding (VES) point: Depth to bedrock, aquifer layer resistivity and fresh/fractured bedrock resistivity. These weights were then compared between those of termite mound sites and those from control areas. The result revealed that about 43% of mound sites have greater aquifer potential compared to the surrounding areas, whereas 28.5% of mounds have equal and lower potentials compared with the surrounding areas. The study concludes that termite mounds locations are suitable spots for groundwater prospecting owing to the deeper regolith layer beneath them which suggests that termites either have the ability to locate places with a deeper weathering horizon or are themselves agents of biological weathering. Further studies to check how representative our study area is of other areas with similar termite activities are recommended.
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