Developing geophysical techniques and combinations of methods for high-resolution exploration programs

Finding a site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste is a socially important and at the same time complex task, due to the special requirements concerning the location of this site. The selection of suitable geophysical methods for the exploration of potential repository sites is a key element of this task. The federal company for radioactive waste disposal (BGE) initiated the research project GEoMetEr, in which appropriate terrestrial and airborne geophysical exploration techniques and combinations of methods are to be tested and further developed.

Geophysical measurements within the GeoMetEr project will be realised in two research regions representing different types of potential host rocks for high-level radioactive waste, i.e., crystalline and clay rock, respectively. A criterion for the selection of the research regions was that both, research region 1 (in Saxony) and research region 2 (in Baden-Wuerttemberg), are already excluded from the search for a repository site.

The Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG) is responsible for the coordination of the GeoMetEr project, in which nine partners from different areas (companies, authorities, universities, and non-university research institutions) cooperate. The project is accompanied by an external expert advisory board.

Two project phases with research contributions of LIAG

The planned studies are structured into two phases for both research regions. In the first phase, terrestrial and airborne exploration with different geophysical methods is performed in both research regions on different scales. For instance, LIAG contributes to this phase with seismic and high-resolution, drone-based electromagnetic investigations. The joined inversion of the geophysical data and the development of a common subsurface model are additional contributions of LIAG. The recommendation of a strategy for site exploration in the context of high-level radioactive waste repository search based on terrestrial and airborne geophysical measurements completes the first phase of the project.

In the second phase, the results from both research regions are supposed to be verified by geophysical measurements and additional tests in research boreholes. LIAG will contribute substantially to the second phase of the GeoMetEr project by performing borehole geophysical measurements.

Further information and news about the GeoMetEr project can be found on the project website of BGE.


Funding Period

01.2023 – 03.2028


TU Bergakademie Freiberg
WWU Münster
DMT GmbH & Co. KG
terratec geophysical services GmbH & Co. KG
Supracon AG
Solexperts AG
Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)