27 May 2024
 | 27 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Spectral Induced Polarization survey for the estimation of hydrogeological parameters in an active rock glacier

Clemens Moser, Umberto Morra di Cella, Christian Hauck, and Adrián Flores Orozco

Abstract. Degrading permafrost in rock glaciers has been reported from several sites in the European Alps. Changes in ground temperature and ice content are expected to affect the hydrogeological properties of the rock glacier and in turn modify the runoff regime and groundwater recharge in high-mountain environments. In this study, we investigate the use of an emerging geophysical method to understand the hydrogeological properties of the active Gran Sometta rock glacier, which consists of a two lobe-tongue (a white and a black) differing in their geologies. We present the application of the spectral induced polarization (SIP) imaging, a method that provides continuous spatial information about the electrical conductivity and polarization of the subsurface, which are linked to hydrogeological properties. To quantify the water content and the hydraulic conductivity from SIP imaging results, we used the petrophysical dynamic stern layer model. The SIP results show a continuously frozen layer at 4−6 m depth along both lobes which hinders the infiltration of water leading to a quick flow through the active layer. To evaluate our results, we conducted tracer experiments monitored with a time-lapse electrical conductivity imaging which confirms the hydraulic barrier associated with the frozen layer and allows to quantify the pore water velocity (~10-2 m/s). Below the frozen layer, both lobes have distinct water content and hydraulic conductivity. We observed a higher water content in the black lobe, which moves faster than the white lobe supporting the hypothesis that the water content at the shear horizon dominates rock glacier velocity. Our study demonstrates that the SIP method is able to provide valuable information for the hydrogeological characterization of rock glaciers.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Clemens Moser, Umberto Morra di Cella, Christian Hauck, and Adrián Flores Orozco

Status: open (until 08 Jul 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
Clemens Moser, Umberto Morra di Cella, Christian Hauck, and Adrián Flores Orozco
Clemens Moser, Umberto Morra di Cella, Christian Hauck, and Adrián Flores Orozco


Total article views: 154 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
109 35 10 154 7 9
  • HTML: 109
  • PDF: 35
  • XML: 10
  • Total: 154
  • BibTeX: 7
  • EndNote: 9
Views and downloads (calculated since 27 May 2024)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 27 May 2024)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 135 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 135 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 21 Jun 2024
Short summary
We quantify hydrogeological properties in an active rock glacier by using electrical conductivity and induced polarization in an imaging framework and we used geophysical monitoring to track tracer test injections. The water content is spatially variable, and the water can move rapidly with a velocity in the range of cm/s through the active layer of the rock glacier. Hydrogeological parameters were linked to kinematic data to investigate the role of water content on rock glacier movement.