This study employed electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) in characterising the shallow groundwater aquifers of Eastern Dahomey basin in southwestern Nigeria to assess the possible occurrence and distribution of saltwater within the aquifers. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), induced polarization (IP) and borehole logging were carried in locations with relatively enhanced electrical conductivity (EC) within the coastal zone of the basin through 97 groundwater samples from shallow wells and boreholes; 500 m-length ERT and IP sections were carried out along three traverses A–B, C–D and E–F in directions perpendicular and parallel to the coastline. Three geoelectrical layers were identified along traverse line A–B which comprises cross-sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 located around Ugbonla, Aboto and Igbokoda with layers’ resistivity and chargeability values ranging from (1–1000, 33–200 and 1–1700 Ωm), and (−50–200 Ωm, −30–200 Ωm and −50–120 Ωm, respectively, from the top to the bottom layer. These values indicated unconsolidated sand/lateritic silty clay, underlain by a sandy/silty clay layer with underlying fine-grained sand with disseminated clay lenses. The average thickness of the first two layers was 16 and 53 m while that of the third layer was undetermined. Resistivity and chargeability results from ERT and IP cross-sections along profile C–D exhibited characteristics similar to that of profile A–B with unconsolidated sands which were underlain by intercalation of sandy/silty clay and fine-grained sands with suspected clay lenses saturated with saline water. Profile E–F revealed a geoelectrical layer with low resistivity which ranged from 1–30 Ωm with the corresponding chargeability between −150–400 ms. This indicated a saline water-saturated layer of fine-grained sand and silty clay which is overlaid by the unconsolidated unconfined freshwater aquifer. Correlation of selected ERT results with borehole logs further affirmed the suspected lithology from the sections. Two scenarios of saltwater intrusions into coastal freshwater aquifer were suggested which include the presence of trapped salt-saturated clay lenses within aquifer lithology and seawater incursion induced by over-drafting of groundwater in this basin.Therefore, it identified the need for further investigation which will involve a combination of hydrochemical and isotopes to further understand the paleowater hypothesis.
- coastal aquifer
- clay lenses
- saline water
- geoelectrical layers and intrusion