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Berlin - Tempelhof seismic pilot study

In the area of the former airport Berlin-Tempelhof/Germany a vibroseismic pilot study to test feasibility and limits of seismic exploration in the heart of a mega city with its enormous noise background was successfully conducted in the frame of a research and development project of the Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) and the GASAG - Berliner Gaswerke AG. New high-resolutional images of local subsurface structures were achieved as well as valuable findings with respect to necessary field and processing techniques and corresponding parameters for possible intra-urban surveys in the future. If for the realisation of specific municipal projects (like geothermal developments) a reliable interpretation of surface-seismically imaged subsurface structures down to 4 km depth is mandatory, modern processing methods (like CRS-stacking and depth migration) are able to compensate for unavoidable shortcomings during acquisition (like high noise and coverage irregularities) without unacceptable quality loss in the final results. The experiences gathered by this pilot study in the centre of Berlin might also be valid for seismic surveying in other similar city environments.
In addition to the active seismic reflection profiling described above, also a short-time passive experiment was carried out using continuously recorded ambient noise as seismic sources to test this relatively new imaging method for its applicability in an urban surrounding.

Time frame (experiment)

  • March 2011


  • GASAG - Berliner Gaswerke AG

Principal Investigator

  • Manfred Stiller (GFZ Potsdam)
  • Klaus Bauer (GFZ Potsdam)


  • GASAG - Berliner Gaswerke AG (Stefan Bredel-Schürmann)
  • International Centre for Geothermal Research at the GFZ (Inga Moeck)

Methods & Equipment

  • Vibroseis contractor with multichannel recording system and digital geophones for active experiment component
  • 100 GIPP recorders DSS-Cube for passive experiment component

For more information contact

  • Manfred Stiller for the active vibroseiss
  • Klaus Bauer for the passive ambient noise seismics


  • Moeck, I., Stiller, M., Pussak, M., Meinert, P., Bauer, K., Bredel-Schürmann, S., Hauptmann, M. 2015. Geothermal Exploration in Megacities – Results from Reflection Seismic Surveying in Berlin (Germany) - /Proceedings/. World Geothermal Congress 2015 (Melbourne, Australia 2015).
  • Bredel-Schürmann, S., Stiller, M., Bauer, K., Ryberg, T., Spalek, A., Huenges, E. 2011. Erschließung des geothermischen Potenzials für die Wärmeversorgung der Hauptstadt. /- Geothermische Energie/, /20/, 71, pp. 8—11.
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