Analytical solutions of vertical electrical soundings (VES) have mostly been applied to groundwater exploration and monitoring groundwater quality on terrains of fairly simple geology and geomorphology on which the electrode arrays are symmetrical (e.g. Schlumberger or Wenner configurations). The sounding interpretation assumes flat topography and horizontally stratified layers. Any deviations from these simple situations may be impossible to interpret analytically. The recently developed GEA-58 geoelectrical instrument can make continuous soundings along a profile with any colinear electrode configuration.

This paper describes the use of finite-difference and finite-element methods to model complex earth resistivity distributions in 2D, in order to calculate apparent resistivity responses to any colinear current electrode distribution in terrains in which the earth resistivities do not vary along the strike. The numerical model results for simple situations are compared with the analytical solutions. In addition, a pseudo-depth section of apparent resistivities measured in the field with the GEA-58 is compared with the numerical solution of a real complex resistivity distribution along a cross-section. The model results show excellent agreement with the corresponding analytical and experimental data.