GeoEn – Land Based Controlled Source Electromagnetic Exploration

The research in GeoEn concentrates on energy production of fossil and renewable geo-resources. Technologies and solutions include CO2 capture and storage, unconventional gas resources and geothermal energy. Understanding the complexity of the underlying geological systems requires a wide spectrum of geo-scientific methodologies. In the framework of GeoEn we are developing controlled source magnetotellurics (CSMT) as an exploration tool for geo-resources. We take a holistic approach in developing all aspects of the system at once: (i) new hardware to generate and inject currents into the ground, (ii) a novel signal processing concept which is based on transfer function estimation and robust statistics and (iii) new 1D, 2.5D and 3D forward and inversion codes to optimize acquisition parameters and to interpret the data. We successfully applied CSMT to examine the CO2 test site in Ketzin and also to investigate a black-shale horizon in the Lower Saxony Basin, Germany. Preliminary 3D inversion results of the Ketzin data set are consistent with the geological models.  Another survey has been conducted in early 2013 in the Gardelegen area to investigate the deep fluid system associated with the Gardelegen fault zone.

Time frame

  • 2008 - present


  • BMBF - Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Principal Investigators (CSMT work package)

  • PD  Dr. Oliver Ritter (GFZ)


  • Dr. K. Mangal Bhatt (UP, GFZ)
  • Dr. Xiaoming Chen (now at RWEDea)
  • Reinhard Klose (UP, GFZ)
  • Dr. Rita Streich (now at Shell Global Solutions International)
  • Dr. Michael Becken (now at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)

Methods & Equipment   

  • EM sources are generated with a programmable signal generator and via grounded electrodes. At the receiver locations a standard MT setup is used.
  • Power Generator (45 kVA), transmitter (Metronix), steel electrodes (GFZ)
  • SPAM Mk IV real time systems (GFZ)
  • Induction coil magnetometers (Metronix)
  • Non-Polarizable Electrodes (GFZ)


  • Streich, R., (2009): 3D finite-difference frequency-domain modeling of controlled-source electromagnetic data: direct solution and optimization for high accuracy, Geophysics, 74(5), F95-F105.
  • Streich, R., Becken, M. and Ritter, O. (2011): 2.5D controlled-source EM modeling with general 3D source geometries, Geophysics 76(6), F387-F393, doi 10.1190/geo2011-0088.1.
  • Streich, R. and Becken, M. (2011): Sensitivity of controlled-source electromagnetic fields in planarly layered media, Geophysical Journal International, 187, 705-728, doi 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05203.x.
  • Streich, R. and Becken, M. (2011): Electromagnetic fields generated by finite-length wire sources: comparison with point dipole solutions, Geophysical Prospecting, 59, 361-374, doi 10.1111/j.1365-2478.2010.00926.x.
  • Streich, R., Becken, M., Matzander, U. and Ritter, O. (2011): Strategies for land-based controlled-source electromagnetic surveying in high-noise regions, The Leading Edge, 30(10), 838-843, doi 10.1190/1.3657078.


  • The MT instruments are provided by the magnetotelluric component of the Geophysical Instrument Pool Potsdam (GIPP-MT)

Additional Information

  • Joint Research Project on GeoEnergy Research: 1) homepage, 2) geophysical reservoir exploration
  • GeoEn article (in german) at the website of BMBF Innovation Initiative "Entrepreneurial Regions" (German: Unternehmen Region)
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