LIAG / Institute / Departments / Rock Physics & Borehole Geophysics / S5 research activities 

S5 research activities

Contribution of the department to the institute's research activities

Research in this department is based on using its know-how in the examination of environmentally-relevant and geological issues such as the characterisation of pore spaces and boundary surfaces. Aspects being investigated include groundwater systems and geothermal deposits. In addition, geophysical/geomagnetic analysis also enables the dating and characterisation of Quaternary and Tertiary terrestrial sediment systems. Working on independent research topics and/or the provision of additional information and reference measurements means that the department is involved in almost all of LIAG's research activities.

Research fields

The methodologically-oriented activities of the department can be subdivided into the following research fields:


In addition to characterising rock samples in terms of classic geophysical parameters, research is also focused in particular on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectral induced polarisation (SIP) and X-ray computer tomography (µ-CT). Examples of the processes being investigated include hydraulic transport in 1-phase and 2-phase systems as well as the interaction of fluid-matrix boundary surfaces, and the associated phenomena (e.g. boundary surface conductivities). The findings revealed in this way provide an elementary basis for macroscopic, i.e. large-scale, application-centric physical characterisation, e.g. for the determination of hydraulic conductivities of groundwater systems from combined NMR-SIP measurements,  or for understanding the genesis and development over time of karst structures, to mention a special geological aspect.

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Rock magnetics

Geomagnetic and paleomagnetic methods form the basis for this research activity. Geomagnetics delivers geophysical parameters which are important parameters for the environmental conditions existing when sediments were deposited, and the            in-situ conditions existing during the diagenesis of rocks. In addition to classic paleomagnetics (movement of the magnetic poles) methods used for magneto-stratigraphy provide information on the polarity of the earth's magnetic field frozen in the rock at the time the rock was formed, and which therefore provides important information on chronostratigraphy.  In addition to radiometric dating and other stratigraphic methods, this allows the dating of sediments and other rock formations up to ages of approx. 500 million years. The geomagnetics research activities are closely linked to the projects of department 3 and main research activity 3 (Terrestrial sediment systems). In addition, determination of the direction and intensity of magnetisation imprinted on the rock, as well as their susceptibilities, provide important information for the magnetics research field (Department 1).

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Well logging

Geophysical measurements in (deep) wells provide fundamental information for the interpretation of many geoscientific questions. Their interpretation enables the geophysical characterisation of the formations penetrated by the well, determining the position of sedimentary structures, as well as interpreting paleo-climatic conditions. The combined interpretation of various physical parameters enables the determination of fundamental geological and reservoir properties, and solves problems concerning (macroscopic) boundary surfaces and boundary surface processes. Analysis of well-to-well relationships enables the regional as well as supra-regional characterisation of analogous as well as genetically similar sedimentary sequences.

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