This department does research on the physical properties of solid and unconsolidated rocks. Via scale-independent measurements, it is able to visualise a wide spectrum of physical parameters (e.g. complex electrical conductivity, hydraulic transmissivity, porosity, density, magnetic susceptibility, etc.) realised using hand samples and core samples from rocks investigated in the laboratory, as well as from in situ logging in wells.
Assessing the physical properties of rocks plays an outstanding role in most applied questions concerning the dynamics, utilisation, protection and sustainable exploitation of underground formations. This is particularly important when forecasts can be elaborated and quantified by numerical modelling and simulations. Current examples of relevance to society are the influence of a rise in sea level on drinking water supplies, assessing the risks in sinkhole regions, and the sustainable use of geothermal locations.
The geophysical laboratories and the equipment for logging wells are unique in Germany in the range of physical rock parameters which can be measured, and the associated expertise. It therefore represents an outstanding unique selling point. An improved understanding of basic petrophysical properties (e.g. transport and storage capacities) is often only possible by combining the interpretation of a range of physical parameters.