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Geothermal exploration with fibre optic seismics in Potsdam

Schematic illustration of the use of telecommunications cables buried underground, serving as seismic sensors. (Image: B. Schöbel)
Setting up a geophone on the earth's surface in front of the ILB, which is funding the geoPuR research project. (photo: C. Cunow)
Vibrator vehicles in Heinrich-Mann-Allee in Potsdam. (photo: C. Cunow)

Energie und Wasser Potsdam (EWP) had vibroseismic measurements performed in Potsdam from December 3 to 10. These measurements are intended to investigate Potsdam's subsurface so that geological structures and fault zones can be made visible. Knowledge of these is a prerequisite for finding the best locations for geothermal development.

The German Research Centre for Geosciences is a cooperation partner in this project: the additional measurements in two fiber-optic cables complement an innovative measuring technique that contributes to better research into the properties of the subsurface. With projects such as geoPuR (Efficient Exploration of Geothermal Potential in Urban Areas), which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg ILB, we are researching, among other things, the geoscientific use of the fiber optic cable infrastructure of telecommunications networks. Fiber optic cables are used as seismic receivers to continuously record the seismic wave field by means of so-called spatially distributed fiber optic strain measurements. The measurement method allows the recording of ground motions over a length of up to several tens of kilometers with a spatial resolution of a few meters at sampling rates of several thousand readings per second at each measurement point. Vibration signals have been recorded on our mobile control screen. The goal of this work is to develop a 3D geological subsurface model (Potsdam3D) that will provide the basis for further exploration and exploitation activities.

The sustainable provision of heating (and cooling) for urban areas is a key element of the energy transition and part of Potsdam's master plan for climate protection. The “Climate Partnership City and Science”-Alliance is also committed to this plan. Our recent activity, cooperation and measurements contributed to it.

We conducted a true 'Community Science', everyone helped: colleagues from GFZ, AWI and PIK, thus the scientific community from Telegrafenberg, as well as the ILB provided additional conventional sensors along the transects and gave our geophones a safe place to stand next to vibrating trucks. It was a great pleasure and motivating to see the interest in our work, to exchange with people along the transects as well as to experience the friendly support in order to protect us from the cold during these days.

Further information:
Information about the projekt geoPuR
Potsdamer Masterplan zum Klimaschutz bis 2050 (in German)
Informationen der Energie und Wasser Potsdam GmbH zur seismischen Erkundung (in German)


Scientific contact:

Prof. Dr. Charlotte Krawczyk  
Section Head
Near-Surface Geophysics
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
14473 Potsdam
phone: +49-331-288-1281
e-mail: charlotte.krawczyk@gfz-potsdam.de 

Dr. Sven Fuchs  
Scientist
Geoenergy
Telegrafenberg
14473 Potsdam
phone: +49-331-288-1713
e-mail: sven.fuchs@gfz-potsdam.de 


Media contact:

Josef Zens 
Head of Public and Media Relations
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Telegrafenberg
14473 Potsdam
phone: +49-331-288-1040
e-mail: josef.zens@gfz-potsdam.de

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