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Section 4.2: Geomechanics and Scientific Drilling

Experimental Rock Deformation Laboratory

For rock deformation experiments we handle different apparatuses, allowing to perform brittle (low temperature) tests on large rock samples (MTS servo-hydraulic press) and high temperature (ductile) experiments on small samples (Paterson-type gas deformation apparatus at high confining pressure, uniaxial creep rig at atmospheric pressure).

Pore and Fracture Space Laboratory

For characterization of pores and fractures within rocks the laboratory is equipped with an X-ray computer tomography system (Nanotom CT), He-gas pycnometer (AccuPyc), Hg porosimeter (2000 WS), and a gas adsorption porosimeter (TS Surfer).

Electronic Laboratory for geophysical exploration systems

The development of geophysical exploration systems with high resolution for underground applications and mobile operation on the surface implicate many interesting problems to be solved with electronics. That is, design and programming of radio-controlled data acquisition systems as well as control systems for seismic impulse and vibrator sources. Another challenging task is the planning, installation and initial operation of electrode arrays in boreholes.

GFZ-Underground-Lab Freiberg

The GFZ Underground-Lab in the research and education mine "Reiche Zeche" in Freiberg offers the possibility to run series of experiments to develop underground applications. With respect to the known geological background, market-ready systems can be realized.

KTB Deep Crustal Lab

The KTB Deep Crustal Laboratory of GFZ Potsdam (KTB-DL) is a worldwide unique research site for a wide variety of experiments, tests and measurements under in-situ borehole conditions. The constellation of two very deep boreholes in crystalline rocks close to each other (200 m) with easy accessibility and full technical infrastructure allows deep borehole experiments at reasonable costs. The KTB site is located in Windischeschenbach, Oberpfalz, Bavaria in southeastern Germany.

Gas Monitoring

Equipment for online monitoring of gases (OLGA) from circulating drilling mud is provided in close cooperation with GFZ Section 3.1. OLGA has been proven to be a reliable and inexpensive source of information to gain information on the composition and spatial distribution of gases at depth in real time and samples for further studies. It also has important application to aiding decisions if and at what depth rock or fluid samples should be taken or formation testing should be performed.

Seismic Measurement Devices

Seismic sources such as pneumatic hammers or magnetostrictive actuators as vibrator source, recording units such as the SUMMIT compact or the at GFZ developed wireless data logger for underground use and SPWD laboratory prototype are presented here.


The Operational Support Group of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, ICDP, situated at GFZ, provides downhole logging services and access to utilize the ICDP instrument pool for PIs of successful ICDP proposals.

Equipment Pool

The section Scientific Drilling has available various equipment for measurements. This includes borehole sondes and a SlimWave Geophone chain from Sercel. But also equipment for gas monitoring, for core scanning and analysis as well as for mobile near-surface high-resolution seismic surveys are in use.

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