This paper presents the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of microstructures of Neogene clays from Warsaw, Poland. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) studies were used for the microstructural analysis of natural clays and clay pastes. Qualitative microstructural changes were observed: from a honeycomb microstructure for the initial clay paste to a turbulent microstructure for the dried paste. It was also noticed that water loss caused by the increase of the suction pressure had a significant impact on the microstructural transformations. Significant changes in the quantitative values of the pore space parameters were also observed. Increase of suction pressure and water loss caused a decrease in porosity and changes in the values of morphometric parameters, such as pore distribution; for example, a significant increase of the number of pores of 0−10 μm size and changes in the geometric parameters of the pore space were noticed with the increase of suction pressure. The pore space with larger isometric pores was modified into a pore space with the dominance of small anisometric and fissure-like pores. The increased degree of anisotropy from a poorly-oriented to a highly-oriented microstructure was also observed. After rapid shrinkage the reduction in the number of pores, maximum pore diameter, and total pore perimeter was recorded. The process of rapid water loss induced the closure of very small pores. A similar effect was observed during the increase of the suction pressure, where the closure of pore space of the clay pastes was observed very clearly.
The main scientific goal of this work is the presentation of the role of selected geophysical methods (Ground-Penetrating Radar GPR and Electrical Resistivity Tomography ERT) to identify water escape zones from retention reservoirs. The paper proposes a methodology of geophysical investigations for the identification of water escape zones from a retention fresh water lake (low mineralised water). The study was performed in a lake reservoir in Upper Silesia. Since a number of years the administrators of the lake have observed a decreasing water level, a phenomenon that is not related to the exploitation of the object. The analysed retention lake has a maximal depth between 6 and 10 m, depending on the season. It is located on Triassic carbonate rocks of the Muschelkalk facies. Geophysical surveys included measurements on the water surface using ground penetration radar (GPR) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) methods. The measurements were performed from watercrafts made of non-metal materials. The prospection reached a depth of about 1 to 5 m below the reservoir bottom. Due to large difficulties of conducting investigations in the lake, a fragment with an area of about 5,300 m 2, where service activities and sealing works were already commenced, was selected for the geophysical survey. The scope of this work was: (1) field geophysical research (Ground-Penetrating Radar GPR and Electrical Resistivity Tomography ERT with geodesic service), (2) processing of the obtained geophysical research results, (3) modelling of GPR and ERT anomalies on a fractured water reservoir bottom, and (4) interpretation of the obtained results based on the modelled geophysical anomalies. The geophysical surveys allowed for distinguishing a zone with anomalous physical parameters in the area of the analysed part of the retention lake. ERT surveys have shown that the water escape zone from the reservoir was characterised by significantly decreased electrical resistivities. Diffraction hyperboles and a zone of wave attenuation were observed on the GPR images in the lake bottom within the water escape zone indicating cracks in the bottom of the water reservoir. The proposed methodology of geophysical surveys seems effective in solving untypical issues such as measurements on the water surface.