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Reliability and limitations of surface NMR assessed by comparison to borehole NMRNormal access

Authors: M. Müller-Petke, T. Hiller, R. Herrmann and U. Yaramanci
Issue: Vol 9, No 2, April 2011 pp. 123 - 134
DOI: 10.3997/1873-0604.2010066
Special Topic: Advances in Magnetic Resonance Technology – Exp
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 6.45Mb )

The measurements of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) parameters to investigate petrophysical properties related to fluid (e.g., water) storage and transport processes provide unique insights compared to other geophysical methods and have become a very useful tool for geophysicists during the last decades at the laboratory scale and as a borehole tool. We investigated, at a groundwater test site in the desert of Abu Dhabi, the reliability and limitation of surface NMR, a new but establishing technique that measures the NMR parameter from the surface by comparing its results to borehole NMR logs. Surface NMR or magnetic resonance sounding measurements (MRS) were conducted along a profile, close to several boreholes. The available borehole NMR logs were used to i) evaluate the potential of surface NMR derived results comparing them with borehole NMR measurements and to ii) extend the hydrogeological knowledge of the groundwater site. Firstly, we show how to carefully handle short relaxation signals of surface NMR data. The most significant steps during this process are: i) broad-band filtering to preserve the short decaying NMR signals, ii) correction for relaxation during pulse effects and iii) QT-inversion to extract reliable subsurface parameter distribution. By comparing surface NMR results with borehole NMR logs we found the following limitations: i) surface NMR is not able to detect borehole NMR measured water content related to T2 decay times lower than ≈80 ms T2 decay time. This reduced detectable water content of surface NMR is due to an instrumental dead time of 40 ms, measured T2* relaxation times and a lower Larmor frequency of 2 kHz and ii) borehole NMR has significantly higher vertical resolution. Taking this into account, surface NMR is in good agreement with borehole NMR. Secondly, on a profile of 1.3 km length 11 MRS measurements were carried out to map the lateral aquifer structure. The obtained results show that surface NMR provides unique lateral information of demanded aquifer properties complementary to e.g., transient electromagnetic.

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