THICNES - The Highland-Vijayan Contact Zone Experiment in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is part of the largest exposed Neoproterozoic high-grade metamorphic terrain in the world and was at a central location in Gondwanaland. It has an almost 2 billion year long record of magmatism, sedimentation, deformation and metamorphism. The THICNES (The Highland-Vijayan Contact zone experiment in Sri Lanka) is a mid to long-term program focussing to reveal the properties of crust and upper mantle of Sri Lanka and to model and quantify the underlying geodynamic processes. In 2016 and 2017 a temporary broadband seismic network was installed in the island to observe local, regional and teleseismic earthquakes.

Time Frame

  • 2016 - 2018


  • Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB; Sri Lanka), GFZ

Principal Investigators

  • Mahinda Senevirathne (GSMB)
  • Christian Haberland (GFZ Potsdam)
  • Frederik Tilmann (GFZ Potsdam)


  • Xiaohui Yuan (GFZ Potsdam)
  • Jennifer Dreiling (GFZ Potsdam)


  • Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB; Sri Lanka)

Methods & Equipment

  • Temporary seismic network
  • receiver funcions,
  • ambient noise studies
  • local earthquakes


  • Altenbernd-Lang, T., Jokat, W., Geissler, W., Haberland, C., De Silva, N. (2022): Wide-angle seismic transect reveals the crustal structure of(f) southern Sri Lanka. - Tectonophysics, 833, 229358
  • Dreiling, J., Tilmann, F., Yuan, X., Haberland, C., Mahinda Seneviratne, S. W. (2020): Crustal structure of Sri Lanka derived from joint inversion of surface wave dispersion and receiver functions using a Bayesian approach. - Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125, 5, e2019JB018688.
  • Dreiling, J., Tilmann, F., Yuan, X., Haberland, C., Seneviratne, S. W. M. (2020): Seismic crustal model of Sri Lanka.
  • Seneviratne, M., Haberland, C., Dreiling, J. (2016): Sri Lanka temporary broadband network. doi:10.14470/6N7561723039
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