SpannEnD – Stress field for nuclear waste disposal site selection in Germany

Time Frame: 2018-2021

Funding: BMWi

    Principal Investigator:Oliver Heidbach  

    Personnel: PhD position is announced - see job offers


      Cooperations: Birgit Müller , KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany, Frank Schilling, KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany, Andreas Henk, TU Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany, Karsten Reiter, TU Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany

      The tectonic stress field in the Earth's crust affects a large number of site selection criteria for the management of radioactive waste. Within the project SpannEnD we will create the first Germany-wide, geomechanical-numerical 3D model. This model will be calibrated against stress data and based on continuum-mechanical approaches it allows predictions for areas without stress data and the predict the six independent components of the 3D stress tensor. In addition, we will develop tools that allow the transfer across to allow for consistent predictions between the Germany stress model and local models on repository scale. In this phase our research is independent of host rocks and does not focus on any particular region. The goal is to provide basic research results, stress data and tools needed to generate in the future geomechanical-numerical models for selected siting areas with given host rock conditions.

      Figure: Sketch of a multi-stage approach from a large-scale model that delivers step-wise initial conditions for smaller scale models modified after Reiter and Heidbach (2014) and Ziegler et al. (2017).


      • Heidbach, O., M. Rajabi, K. Reiter, M. Ziegler, and a. t. W. Team (2016), World Stress Map Database Release 2016, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, GFZ Data Services,
      • Heidbach, O., J. Reinecker, M. Tingay, B. Müller, B. Sperner, K. Fuchs, and F. Wenzel (2007), Plate boundary forces are not enough: Second- and third-order stress patterns highlighted in the World Stress Map database, Tectonics, 26(TC6014),
      • Hergert, T., O. Heidbach, K. Reiter, S. Giger, and P. Marschall (2015), Stress field sensitivity analysis in a sedimentary sequence of the Alpine foreland, northern Switzerland, Solid Earth, 6, 533-552,
      • Reiter, K., and O. Heidbach (2014), 3-D geomechanical-numerical model of the contemporary crustal stress state in the Alberta Basin (Canada), Solid Earth,
      • Reiter, K., O. Heidbach, B. Müller, J. Reinecker, and T. Röckel (2016), Stress Map Germany 2016, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, GFZ Data Services,
      • Reiter, K., O. Heidbach, J. Reinecker, B. Müller, and T. Röckl (2015), Spannungskarte Deutschland 2015, Erdöl Erdgas Kohle, 131(11), 437-442.
      • Ziegler, M., Heidbach, O., Reinecker, J., Przybycin, A. M., & Scheck-Wenderoth, M. (2016). A multi-stage 3-D stress field modelling approach exemplified in the Bavarian Molasse Basin. Solid Earth, 7, 1365-1382.
      Oliver Heidbach
      Group Leader
      Prof. Dr. Oliver Heidbach
      Seismic Hazard and Risk Dynamics
      Helmholtzstraße 6/7
      Building H 6, Room 302
      14467 Potsdam
      +49 331 288-2814