Estimation of soil overburden thickness/depth of rock strata using geo-physical survey at Himalayan region

  • Luitel Keshar Kumar
  • V. Thirukumaran
  • Luitel Homnath
Keywords: electrical resistivity technique, soil overburden, geological mapping, slope stability


Estimation of soil overburden and depth of competent strata for construction of infrastructures in hilly terrain is a challenging job for engineers. Modern technologies like Electrical Resistivity Survey (ERS) techniques with site geological mapping have been carried out at the ridge area near Palace, Gangtok. Two independent 2D-electrical resistivity surveys profile sections using hybrid Schlumberger-Wenner method were conducted along the ridge line trending in the North-South direction. The ERS profile sections were taken on both the slopes of the ridge along its eastern and western flanks. With the collective information from field and geo-technical data, a comparatively stable slope has been identified with respect to geological conditions in the present work, which focuses on the vulnerable slope failure with respect to slope direction, local geological condition, depth of competent strata, thickness of soil overburden, water saturation zones and resistivity of the materials. Diamond core drilling of 15meters each was carried out at both the flanks of the slope to understand the sub-surface strata and correlate it with resistivity data generated by ERS survey. The result indicates that Sandy/silty soil with flakes of mica having resistivity of 107 ohm-m and weathered mica schist having resistivity more than 300 ohm-m in the present study area. Geological mapping in 1:3000 scale was carried in the area demarcation with various litho-units and rock type. The area is characterized by medium grade metamorphic rock sequence represented in the area by mica schist having dip of foliations towards NE direction and three sets of joint planes. The geometry of the rock orientation and slope direction plays a vital role for determining the overall stability condition of the area. The present study will provide technical input for structural engineers to design the structures in such geological conditions. Further, the thickness of overburden estimated from ERS has been validated by drilling data.

Author Biographies

Luitel Keshar Kumar
Department of Mines and Geology, Govt. of Sikkim, Gangtok, IndiaDepartment of Geology, Government Arts College (Autonomous), Salem, India
V. Thirukumaran
Department of Geology, Government Arts College (Autonomous), Salem, India
Luitel Homnath
Department of Physics, NBBGC, Tadong, Gangtok, India


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How to Cite
Kumar, L., Thirukumaran, V., & Homnath, L. (2023). Estimation of soil overburden thickness/depth of rock strata using geo-physical survey at Himalayan region. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 31(4), 659-667.