Personal profile:

Profile photo of  Priv. Doz. Dr. Oliver Heidbach

Priv. Doz. Dr. Oliver Heidbach

Section 2.6: Seismic Hazard and Stress Field

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Helmholtzstraße 6/7
Building H 6, room 302
14467 Potsdam
Phone: +49 331 288-2814
Fax: +49 331 288-1127
e-mail: oliver.heidbach(at)


About the person

Research Interests:

  • Geomechanic and geohazard
  • Numerical methods in Earth sciences
  • Monitoring and analysis of crustal stress
  • 4D geomechanical-numerical simulation of the crustal stress field
  • Analysis and simulation of co-, inter- and postseismic stress transfer
  • Forward simulation of scenario-earthquakes in the Marmara Sea
  • Quantification of the criticality of the crustal stress state
  • Simulation of stress changes due to underground usage (geothermal, nuclear waste disposal)


  • 2009 Venia legendi (Adj. Prof.), Technical University Karlsruhe
  • 2009 Habilitation in Geophysics, (Dr. rer. nat. habil.), Technical University Karlsruhe
  • 2005 Certificate from the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg for university didactic
  • 2000 PhD in Geophysics (Dr. rer. nat.), Ludwig-Maximilians University München
  • 1994 Diploma in Geophysics (MSc.), Ludwig-Maximilians University München


  • since 2012 Head of the working group Analysis and Modelling of Crustal Stress
  • since 2009 Head of the World Stress Map Project, Member of the ICSU World Data System
  • since 2009 Senior Researcher at the Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences 
  • since 2005 Head of a Task Force of the International Lithosphere Programs ILP

  • 2013-2015 Member of the GFZ think tank
  • 2003-2008 Head of the working group Tectonic Stress, Geophysical Institute, Technical University Karlsruhe
  • 2003-2008 Project leader of the DFG Special Research Centre 461 Strong Earthquakes
  • 2003-2008 Assistant Professor (C1), Geophysical Institute, Technical University Karlsruhe
  • 2000-2003 Research Scientist at the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
  • 1996-2000 Research Scientist at German Geodetic Research Institute (DGFI), München
  • 1994-1995 Research Assistant at the Geophysical Institute, Ludwig-Maximilians University München


  • Geodynamic modelling
  • Theory of the finite element method
  • Plate tectonic and stress in the Earth crust
  • Rhetoric for students of geosciences
  • Supervision of laoboratory practicals

  • Supervisoin of 10 PhD students and > 20 Diploma-, Bachelor and Master students
  • Reviewer for nuclear waste disposal research (National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) in Switzerland, Nuclear Waste Disposal Committee of the German Parliament)
  • Reviewer for several international research institutions and journals (JGR, Nature Geosciences, GJI, GRL, Geology, J. Geodyn., Tectonophysics, EPSL, NSF, DSF, ANR, etc.)
  • Organisation of several international conferences, workshops and conference sessions (AGU, EGU, ESF, World Stress Map Project conference series)
  • Initiator of the international network GEOQUS for users of the Abaqus FEM software in geoscienes (organisation of international workshops).
  • AGU Journal Highlight: Heidbach, O., Iaffaldano, G., Bunge, H.-P., 2008. Topography growth drives stress rotations in the Central Andes - observations and models. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, doi:10.1029/2007GL032782
  • Editor of the Tectonophysics special issue Frontiers of Stress Research, Tectonophysics, Vol. 482 (2010)
  • 2nd most cited paper in Tectonophysis in the five year period 2010-2015 (Heidbach et al., 2010)
  • Louis Cagniard Award 2015 of the EAGE

Selected Publications (ISI):

  • Gaucher, E., M. Schoenball, O. Heidbach, A. Zang, P. Fokker, J.-D. van Wees and T. Kohl, (2015): Induced seismicity in geothermal reservoirs: A review of forecasting approaches, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 52, 11473-1490, doi: 10.1016/j.res.2015.08.026.
  • Hergert, T., O. Heidbach, K. Reiter, S. Giger and P. Marschall (2015): Stress field sensitivity analysis in a sedimentary sequence of the Alpine foreland, northern Switzerland, Solid Earth 6, 533-552, doi:10.5194/se-6-533-2015.
  • Altmann, J.B., B. Müller, T. Müller, O. Heidbach, M. Tingay and A. Weißhardt (2014): Pore pressure stress coupling in 3D and consequences for reservoir stress states and fault reactivation, Geothermics, 10.1016/j.geothermics.2014.01.004.
  • Moreno, M., C. Haberland, O. Oncken, A. Rietbrock, S. Angiboust and O. Heidbach (2014): Locking of the Chile subduction zone controlled by fluid pressure before the 2010 earthquake, Nature Geosciences, doi:10.1038/ngeo2102.
  • Heidbach, O., M. Tingay, A. Barth, J. Reinecker, D. Kurfeß and B. Müller (2010): Global crustal stress pattern based on the World Stress Map database release 2008, Tectonophysics 482, 3-15, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2009.07.023.
  • Hergert, T. and O. Heidbach (2010): Slip-rate variability and distributed deformation in the Marmara Sea fault system, Nature Geoscience 3, 132-135, doi:10.1038/NGEO739.
  • Tingay, M., O. Heidbach, R. Davies and R. Swarbrick (2008): Triggering of the Lusi mud eruption: Earthquake versus drilling initiation, Geology 36, doi: 10.1130/G24697A.1, 639-642.
  • Heidbach, O., J. Reinecker, M. Tingay, B. Müller, B. Sperner, K. Fuchs and F. Wenzel, (2007): Plate boundary forces are not enough: Second- and third-order stress patterns highlighted in the World Stress Map database, Tectonics 26, TC6014, doi:10.1029/2007TC002133.