Paleolimnological studies require a broad understanding of the geometry and depth of the sedimentary fill of lake basins prior to coring campaigns. Seismic methods are routinely employed for the indirect characterization of lake-bottom sediments. However, the use of seismic methods might occasionally be limited due to surface conditions or poor seismic contrasts between the stratigraphic units, which lead to data quality that is too poor to provide sufficient information for the selection of drill sites. Sources of cultural noise are one of the main reasons why seismic methods fail in study areas near or within large cities, such as Mexico City. Under certain conditions, electrical and electromagnetic methods might be a suitable substitute or complement to seismic exploration, as they respond to different physical properties of the subsurface. To evaluate the applicability of such methods, here we present two recent case studies from the desiccated lakes Chalco and Xochimilco both located in urban areas within the Basin of Mexico where electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), transient electromagnetic (TEM) and magnetotelluric (MT) soundings were conducted for the characterization of lake basement and lacustrine sediments. In both examples, the results of the geophysical exploration contributed valuable stratigraphic information for the following drilling and core recovery, which highlights the potential of electrical and electromagnetic methods in paleolimnological studies.
- Electrical resistivity tomography
- Electromagnetic methods
- Lacustrine sediments