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Research mission

Research foci of the Geophysics Section at the University of Bonn comprise geophysical imaging methods, modeling of coupled flow and transport processes in porous and fractured media, and integration of process models and geophysical data through petrophysical models. Applications in these fields are manifold and include soil / aquifer characterization, monitoring of subsurface flow, transport and biogeochemical processes, in the context of water management, contaminated site characterization / remediation, soil-root interactions, permafrost characterization, enhanced geothermal systems, mud volcanoes, and slope (in)stability.


Research Topics



Geophysical Modelling

Geophysical Imaging and Monitoring



E-TEST: Einstein Telescope EMR Site & Technology


The Einstein-Telescope (ET) is an advanced gravitational-wave observatory, currently in the planning stage. A possible target area is the Euregio Meuse-Rhine (EMR) border region between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. One objective of the E-TEST project is the (hydro)geological characterization of the target area, to find a suitable location for the construction of the ET. The Institute for Geosciences contributes to the implementation of the underground observatory and the development of the (hydro)geological model for the potential ET site by integrating hydrogeophysical imaging and monitoring methods which exploit electrical signatures of the earth. Geoelectric ERT and IP measurements are performed using a cross-borehole electrode setup, ensuring high resolution of rock formations at depth. Additional laboratory measurements and synthetic studies are carried out to adjust the measurement setup to the specific location of the observatory and to provide a basis for interpretation of the field results.

SPICE: Geophysics in alpine permafrost

The project “Improved ice quantification at alpine permafrost sites based on electrical and electromagnetic measurements of spectral induced polarization (SIP)” addresses the following research questions:
Can electrical and electromagnetic measurements of SIP be used to reliably quantify ice content changes in mountain permafrost regions?
Can the SIP response of partially frozen soils/rocks be predicted from a petrophysical model, and can the model be applied to real permafrost field cases?
To what extent does the new methodology represent an improvement over the standardly used electrical resistivity and refraction seismic tomography approach in mountain permafrost research?

PHENOROB: Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production

Food, feed, fiber, and fuel: Crop farming plays an essential role for the future of humanity and our planet. The environmental footprint of agriculture needs to be reduced: less input of chemicals like herbicides and fertilizer and other limited resources like water or energy. Simultaneously, the decline in arable land and climate change pose additional constraints like drought, heat, and other extreme weather events.
Spectral electrical impedance tomography (sEIT) is used as in-situ tool for the structural and functional sensing of root systems in the field; data processing will be optimized and linked with established soil-root electrical relationships to monitor rooting and water uptake depth. The project is part of CP 3: THE SOIL-ROOT-ZONE, SP2: Structural and functional field root sensing using tomographic and endoscopic electrical impedance spectroscopy.


Concluded Projects

TR32 - TransRegional Collaborative Research Centre 32

FOR 1320 - Crop Sequence and Nutrient Acquisition from the Subsoil

iSoil - Interactions between soil related sciences

ModelPROBE - Model driven Soil Probing, Site Assessment and Evaluation


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