Especiallyin geothermal exploration, the success rates of identifying new geothermal resources can be increased and the risk and development costs can be lowered through implementing pertinent data on heat sources dimensions and geometry as well as thermal rock properties into advanced conceptual models.

Research focuses on both the thermal parameters at lithospheric scale and more specific also on those in the depth domain that can be explored by borehole drilling. Furthermore, we characterize the thermal field and thermal rock parameters at regional as well as local scale, the latter of which directly feed into the development of hydrothermal and petrothermal (EGS/HDR) energy projects. We use data from borehole and surface geophysical surveys, analyze chemical and physical rock properties and develop numerical, geology-assisted subsurface models down the base of the Earth crust by working at the interface of pure and applied geothermics.

Our expertise has developed during work performed in different geodynamic settings in the world, e.g. in the North German Basin, the Erzgebirge and Luxembourg in Europe, the North American Midcontinent, the Andean subductionzone in Bolivia and Chile, the Arabian Shield in Israel and Jordan, as well as in India.

Interpretation of Geophysical Well Logs

Example of Well-Log Interpretation (GFZ)

Porosity, density, gamma-ray intensity and temperature measured in boreholes are some of the parameters that we use in the evaluation of the geology and the temperature field. They are also used in the fashion of integrated core-log interpretation to feed subsurface models. Furthermore, geophysical well-logging data are deployed in novel approaches to indirectly determine thermal rock properties. The application of those approaches opens new possibilities for the parametrization of numerical temperature models.

Heat-Flow Studies and Thermal Models

European Heat-Flow Map (Cloetingh et al., 2010).
(Cloetingh et al.)

The  heat-flow density is an intrinsic parameter for all temperature models, for which it is used either as input or for calibration. Its determination requires a high-precision temperature log under thermal equilibrium in conjunction with the rock thermal conductivity of the studied depth interval. We have experience in performing heat-flow studies including the identification of different modes of heat transfer and of heat generation processes.

Thermal Rock Parameters

Optical scanning meter for measurements under normal laboratory conditions (GFZ ).

We measure the thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity of dry and saturated rocks at ambient conditions using different laboratory devices. We also investigate the feasibility of calculating the thermal conductivity from the modal mineralogy of a rock. A laboratory device is in the making allowing for dry or saturated rocks measurements of thermal conductivity at pressures and temperatures that are simultaneously raised to 200 MPa and 200°C, respectively.


Andrea Förster
Dr. habil. Andrea Förster
Geothermal Energy Systems
Building A 69, Room 106
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1242