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Finite Element Analysis and Experimental Characterization of Soil Electrical Resistivity at El Roque de los Muchachos Observatory

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: This paper presents a study of the soil electrical resistivity of El Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, located in La Palma Island (Spain). This work is mainly motivated by the current plans of building an array of Cherenkov Telescopes (CTA) as well as other scientific installations, which demand low earth resistances for the operation of sensitive instruments, prevention of damage due to electrostatic discharges and protection against lightning strikes. Despite the top quality of the sky, the terrain is mostly filled of hard rocks and materials with high resistivity and hardness. No reliable data of resistivities could be found in available literature, therefore a dedicated resistivity survey onsite like the one presented here is essential to optimize the earth resistance of future installations. In this work, we present measurements done in six different locations of an area covering around 250 m × 275 m and centered on coordinates 28˚45 42.9 "N, 17˚53 28.5 "W. Low resistivity (Ωm) layers have been found at specific places and depths. The resistivity at the sites has been simulated with COMSOL Multiphysics software using two different models: a simple single layer model and a three-layer model. Agreement with measurements within 10 discrepancies was obtained in all cases. The main contributions of this work are the presentation of reliable values of soil resistivity at ORM, together with the accurate simulation of the soil profiles.

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