Geophysical methods are well established for subsurface investigations of planned infrastructure or energy projects like highways, railways, tunnels or water / wind power plants. They provide a high resolution image of the subsurface until some hundreds of meters. The knowledge about the underground such as the thickness of overlaying material, depth of hard rock, faulting zones within the rock, groundwater situation or the existence of cavities at the construction site is essential, especially in Austria with its difficult terrains and underground conditions.
In recent years the requirements regarding resolution and applications in the different terrains have increased a lot. Together with the company Pöyry-Infra GmbH we focus on new applications and methods in the different geophysical fields.

The following projects are just some examples of what was done and developed within this research group.

  • In Tirol a new water tunnel was planned beneath an existing active landslide. A 3D-seismic survey was carried out to investigate the depth and structure of it. The new tunnel now is beneath this zone.
  •  Another project was the detection of cavities along a new railway tunnel with a specific combination of seismic, electric and gravimetric measurements.
  • The use of surface waves lead to a new method to investigate the safety of dams.
  • The actual project focus is the prediction of fault zones during tunneling with seismic methods (TSWD).

Figure: Expansion of an existing water power station in the Alps. Conducted geophysical methods on the surface and in the tunnel supported these projects in the planning phase and also during construction. Potential risks for the tunneling, like fault zones could be determined in advance and therefore leaded to a save and efficient realization of this tunnel.

Figure: Resulting reflection wavefield of TSWD; high amplitudesindicates a fault zone. The prediction distance is until 100 m ahead of the TBM.