Potential field anomalies provide complementary information to seismic surveys for structural exploration. Department S1 carries out gravimetry and magnetics mostly for the exploration of tectonic and/or geological structures, preferably within the context of interdisciplinary research projects.
Terrestrial data remains indispensable for the investigation of geological structures at a local to regional scale because of its high spatial resolution. LIAG is the only institute with access to uniformly processed gravimetric and magnetic data sets for the whole of Germany, specially prepared for geological and geophysical applications. These are used for geological interpretations in the form of forward models, as well as for the further development of methodologies. This database is also a fundamental platform for co-operative major projects at an international to national level at a crustal scale. In addition to the existing data, a modern pool of equipment is used to carry out high resolution measurements for specific purposes.
In addition to structural exploration, another area of activity is the observation and interpretation of local, temporal changes in the Earth's gravity field. These can indicate mass movement, and are therefore an important key for the understanding of georisks or for the monitoring of underground formations used for economic and/or storage purposes. Understanding the processes involved requires long time series, new data processing approaches, and the incorporation of geophysical expertise and upgraded modelling approaches, with a view to interpreting the data. Broader application opportunities will be opened up in the future by the development of a drift-free gravimeter.