Review of processing and interpretation of self-potential anomalies: Transfer of methodologies developed in magnetic prospecting

Lev V. Eppelbaum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The self-potential (SP) method is one of the most inexpensive and unsophisticated geophysical methods. However, its application is limited due to the absence of a reliable interpreting methodology for the complex geological-environmental conditions. To exclude disturbances ap-pearing in the SP method, a few ways for their removal (elimination) before quantitative analysis are presented. A brief review of the available interpretation methods is included. For the magnetic method of geophysical prospecting, special quantitative procedures applicable under complex physical-geological environments (oblique polarization, uneven terrain relief and unknown level of the normal field), have been developed. The detected common peculiarities between the magnetic and SP fields make it possible to apply the advanced procedures developed in magnetic prospecting to the SP method. Besides the reliable determination of the depth of anomalous targets, these methodologies enable the calculation of the corrections for non-horizontal SP observations and to determine the orientation of the polarization vector. For the classification of SP anomalies, is proposed to use a new parameter: the ‘self-potential moment’. The quantitative procedures (improved modifications of characteristic point, tangent techniques and the areal method) including the determination of the SP vector and SP moment, have been successfully tested on models and employed in real situations in mining, archaeological, environmental and technogenic geophysics. The obtained results indicate the effectiveness of the presented methodologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number194
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Archaeological sites
  • Complex geological environments
  • Ore deposits
  • Polarization vector
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Self-potential moment
  • Underground caves
  • Underground pipes


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