Section 6.1: Basin Modelling

The aim of this project is to obtain a better understanding of the crust and the uppermost mantle beneath the Alpine orogen and its forelands and to test different hypotheses on the configuration of the subduction system, as well as on the distribution of deformation and seismicity. Therefore, we plan to integrate the geoscientific observations publicly available so far on properties of the sediments and the crystalline crust (geometry, seismic velocities, and densities) with seismologically derived heterogeneities in the sub-crustal mantle into a consistent data-based 3D structural model that resolves the first-order contrasts in physical properties of the units composing the orogen and the forelands.

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The 'Advanced Earth System Modelling Capacity' (ESM) is a joint project in the research field 'Earth & Environment' funded by the Helmholtz networking fund. The project aims to develop and establish a world-leading, modular and flexible modelling infrastructure to promote a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics of the system Earth under different forcing by fostering advancement in modelling the respective model compartments as well as their interactions across scales.

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The Sea of Marmara and its basins mainly evolved due to the activities of the Thrace-Eskisehir Fault Zone (TEFZ) in the Neogene and the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ) in the Quaternary. At present-day, the Sea of Marmara is still evolving due to the NAFZ and the Marmara region is an earthquake hazard zone while hosting around 20 million of inhabitants. For a better understanding of the tectonic processes and geodynamic evolution, it is important to assess the geological structure and the thermomechanical state of this region, considering variations in rheology and strength of the lithosphere in the Marmara region.

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The Chaco-Paraná Basin is located east of the Sierras Pampeanas and the Santa Barbara System. The basin has been a depocenter since the early Paleozoic and has been under strong influence of the Andean orogeny since the Cenozoic. In the basin, a gradient of different deformation styles developed due to the Andean orogeny. This project aims to construct a data-consistent, integrated three-dimensional structural model of the Chaco-Paraná Basin on a lithospheric scale. The model will be used to analyse the present-day thermal and structural states to better understand the evolution of the basin

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The Upper Rhine Graben is a tectonically active rift system that developed as part of the European Cenozoic Rift System. The basin accommodated a thick package of sediments, which nowadays hosts a significant potential for geothermal energy. In order to utilise this energy resource, it is crucial to understand the temperature distribution and the influence of heat transport mechanisms (including groundwater flow) in the subsurface.

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Fractures and faults play an important role in a variety of fields in geoscience as geomechanical, geotechnical and hydrological applications. Fracture characterization, fluid flow and heat transfer analysis are among other the topics where effort is nowadays focusing. To address these aspects and to come up with feasible answers a multivariate approach is required where different branches of geoscience are integrated.

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Renewables still play a minor role in providing energy for mega cities such as Germany’s capital Berlin. One question in the light of an aspired reduction of CO2 emissions is how much deep geothermal energy can contribute to future demands of the world’s largest cities. Based on the configuration of the sediments, the crust, and the lithospheric mantle beneath Berlin, we develop 3D thermal models that are consistent with local temperature data while predicting the subsurface temperature distribution for the entire city. Thereby, we follow two approaches, (i) calculations of the steady-state conductive thermal field and (ii) simulations of coupled fluid flow and heat transport. The final goal of this project is to complement an existing virtual 3D city model of Berlin by approximations of the deep and shallow geothermal potential within the framework of the programme Energy Atlas Berlin - an approach towards establishing urban planning concepts based on linking resources, infrastructure and the future demands of Berlin.

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The Barents Sea and Kara Sea region in the European Arctic is due to its hydrocarbon potential since decades in focus of an increasing number of economic and scientific explorations. However, with regard to the complex tectonic history, which has been affected particularly by three overlapping late Precambrian/Paleozoic orogenies (Timanian, Caledonian, Uralian) many questions remain open in understanding large-scale processes behind sedimentary basin evolution in the Barents Sea.

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The complex geological and therefore also thermal configuration of the subsurface of the German federal state of Hesse leads to high uncertainties in the planning of geothermal projects. To reduce these uncertainties and the risk of drilling non-productive wells, we want to build an improved 3D structural and thermal model of Hesse

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The Kenya Rift is part of the East African Rift System and marks a zone along the African continental plate and is tectonically stretched and thinned, evidenced by earthquake and volcanic activity. We want to understand the controlling factors of present-day and past tectonic deformation. Hence, we assess the structural and strength configuration of the rift system and its surroundings by integrating geological and geophysical observations into 3D numerical models. These data-driven models reveal how the inherited composition of the crust and a thermal anomaly in the mantle interact forming localised zones of tectonic weakness.

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Contact

Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth
Section Head
Prof. Dr. Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth
Basin Modelling
Telegrafenberg
Building C 4, Room 1.09
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1345
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