Research Focus

Near-Surface Geophysics

The shallow subsurface, especially within the top 50 m, supports human infrastructure, yields much of the water and mineral resources, and is the repository for most municipal and industrial wastes. It is the region most susceptible to contamination and modification from human activity. Thus, knowledge of the shallow underground is, for example, important for structural and civil engineering projects, mining raw materials, evaluating groundwater resources or predicting and evaluating the consequences of anthropogenic contaminations. 

Our scientific activities and research interests concentrate on Near-Surface Geophysics, i.e., the development and application of geophysical techniques (e.g., georadar, electromagnetic, geoelectric, and seismic methods) to explore and characterize the shallow subsurface. Here, one direction focuses on methodological innovations regarding selected field techniques; e.g., 3-D georadar surveying or further developments in borehole based seismic and georadar techniques. In addition to technical issues (e.g., hardware setup, surveying strategies) this also includes the investigation of fundamental physical phenomena (e.g., regarding data quality and reliability or petrophysical relations) as well as the innovative application of these techniques to selected near-surface problems from various disciplines (e.g., archaeology, agriculture, civil engineering or hydrology/hydrogeology). 

The second main direction of our research activities concentrates on developing flexible data analysis and interpretation tools to generate integrated earth models. Here, the overall goal is to use multi-technique geophysical surveying in combination with all other available data (e.g., from hydrological or engineering field experiments) to characterize the shallow subsurface in a quantitative fashion; e.g., in terms of the relevant hydrological or engineering properties. In this context, we develop and investigate innovative inversion methodologies, multivariate statistical tools and stochastic simulation approaches.