I saw one way to achieve this using the magnetotelluric way, but I need some solid fundamental way to understand it. Any book recommendations would be appreciated.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you just interested in the magnetotelluric method or others methods as well. You ask one question in the title but a specific question in the body of the text. Could you please clarify. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ The water is in rock formations, aquafers. The technology is seismic exploration. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2022 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ This question is a bit vague. Search for resources under 'hydrogeology' or 'aquifer exploration' and then come back with a more pointed question. Or, as Fred says, if you're interested in magnetotellurics, ask about that (after reading about it!). $\endgroup$
    – Matt Hall
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 23:35

2 Answers 2


You may want to explore this question from Space Exploration SE. Strictly speaking, the question refers to ice detection, but the methods described there can also be used to identify liquid water.

  • Seismic measurements. These may be used to identify different phases of ice as well as liquid water, because different phases of the same chemical makeup will lead to different propagation of the seismic waves. Ref. 1 describes how the technique may be applied to outer-planet moons to reveal the water/ice structure.

  • Inclusions. The same answer also describes the direct finding of high-pressure ice (Ice VII) in diamonds on Earth 2. The high-pressure ice does not reveal bodies of water as such, but it gives evidence of molecular $\ce{H2O}$ originating from the deep mantle.


  1. S.C Stähler, M. P. Planning, S. D. Vance, R. D. Lorentz, N. van Driel, T. Nissen-Meyer, S. Kedar (2018). "Seismic propagation in icy ocean worlds". Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123. https:// doi.org/10.1002/2017JE005338.

  2. O. Tscauner, S. Huang, E. V. B. Prakapenka, C. Ma, G. R. Rossman, A. H. Shen, D. Zhang, M. Newville, A. Lanzirotti, K. Tait (2018). "Ice-VII inclusions in diamonds: Evidence for aqueous fluid in Earth’s deep mantle". Science 359 (6380), 1136-1139. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aao3030.


I want to add to the initial answer from Oscar:

But first, as a matter for geophysical terminology clarification, let's separate two very important concepts: detection (i.e. "I see the top or the bottom or something in between the top and bottom, whatever that is...") and resolution (i.e. "I see the top and bottom, whatever that is...").

For the specific question, here's my take on it: there are many, many well-documented ways of doing this. Direct (well-logs, cores, etc.) and remote (seismic and potential fields). For seismic methods, that's usually reflection or refraction. And, for potential fields, that usually is electrical resistivity surveying (and then some kind of 2/3-D inversion) or GPR.

As for sources, there's a lot of useful stuff here.


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