Welcome to the Applied Geophysics Group of the University of Münster!

The focus of applied geophysics is the exploration of the earth's crust using a wide range of geophysical measurement methods. The development and optimization of innovative measuring techniques, their use for deposit exploration, lithosphere research and their application to complex problems in archaeo-physics are the main focuses of our working group.


  • 18. and 19. of April 2024: DESMEX-REAL project meeting in the Oberharz

    A meeting of all partners of the DESMEX-REAL project took place on April 18 and 19 in Clausthal-Zellerfeld. The meeting focused on the consolidation of results achieved so far and the planning of the Harz survey in August 2024. Contributions included reports on current measurement campaigns, progress in the development of electromagnetic field sensors, sensor platforms and towed sensors, preliminary geophysical subsurface models of the Harz and the integration with existing geological models. The historic market square of the town of Clausthal-Zellerfeld was also visited, where a public event will be held on August 13 to inform the public about the aims and background of the joint project.

  • MT measurements in the Namibian desert.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik

    February/March 2024: MT and sAEM measurements near Khorixas, Namibia

    Magnetotelluric measurements were carried out near Khorixas, Namibia, as part of a two-week Master's field course.  The aim of the measurements was to investigate conductive structures in the crust and their correlation with mineralisation at the surface. A total of 18 broadband MT stations were installed and additional short-term measurements were carried out at a further 26 points. The field course was supported by Ongwe Minerals (Namibia) in terms of content and logistics.

    Parallel to the field course, drone-based semi-airborne EM test measurements were carried out to investigate the sources of a geomagnetic anomaly in more detail. The drone measurements were carried out as part of the DESMEX-REAL project.

    Field course and sAEM survey participants from Ongwe Minerals, Terratec Namibia and Uni Münster.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • Oktober 2023: News from the working group

    We congratulate Hannah Treppke and Sebastian Schwind on the completion of the Master of Science Geophysics and at the same time are pleased to welcome Hannah as a PhD student starting October 01.

    Prof. Matthew Comeau has accepted a position as Assistant Professor at TU Delft. We congratulate Matthew, wish him good luck for the future and thank him for the successful and enjoyable collaboration during the last years!

  • September 2023: Helicopter survey in the upper Harz mountains

    Once again, semi-airborne EM data were collected in the Upper Harz Mountains around Schulenberg. The measurement campaign is part of the DESMEX-Real project, in the context of which the entire mining region of the Upper Harz is surveyed. In previous years, flights were carried out in the area of Lautenthal, Bad Grund and Goslar.

    Click here for media reportage by NDR and Sat1 (as of October 2023).

    Helicopter with towed sensor over the Oker lake near Schulenberg.
    © Andre Bertram
  • September 2023: Semi-airborne measurements in Argentina

    In cooperation with the French company ERAMET and the German company DEM, two pilot studies were carried out in Argentina. The aim of the measurements was the detection of highly conductive lithium brine in the subsurface. Both test areas were located in the Argentine Andes at an altitude of 3500 m. One test site was a dry salt lake (salar) and the other was located in a volcanic area. The processing of the data obtained will show the suitability of the DESMEX method for this type of deposits.

  • July/August 2022: Further archeo-geophysical measurements at the Amyklaios sanctuary, Sparta, Greece

    As a continuation of the archaeo-geophysical measurements last summer, further measurements were carried out near Sparta, Greece. The aim is to discover archaeological structures at the sanctuary of Apollo Amyklaios in cooperation with the Institute for Classical and Christian Archaeology at WWU Münster and the Ionian University of Corfu.

    Profile of geoelectric measurements.
    © Moritz Wendel


  • July/August 2023: Magnetotelluric measurements in western Mongolia

    Western Mongolian landscape.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik

    This year's magnetotelluric measurements took place in western Mongolia in collaboration with partners from the Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (IAG) in Ulaanbaatar. These measurements add 150 stations to the existing data set and contribute to the development of possible geodynamic scenarios for the origin and understanding of the lithospheric deformation at hand.

    WWU and IAG team members, July/August 2023.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • June 2023: Canoeing day on the river Werse

    Day trip of the Applied Geophysics Working Group on the Werse - including (un)voluntary swimming, barbecue and water turtle.
    © Michael Becken
  • 11. & 12. May 2023: DESMEX II and DESMEX-REAL project meeting in the Harz

    Participants of the DESMEX II and DESMEX-REAL project meeting
    © Institut fuer Geophysik

    On May 11 and 12, a project meeting of the project partners involved in DESMEX II and DESMEX-REAL took place in the Hotel zum Harzer not far from the airborne survey areas in the Harz Mountains. On the agenda were various reports on the status of the work, an introduction to the geology of the Harz, as well as the planning and selection of future measurement and model areas. Accompanied by a renowned mineralogist, a geological hike was organized.

    © Andre Bertram
  • Mai 2023: Gauß-Lecture of the DGG at the EGU on the topic "Resources for tomorrow"

    This year's Gauss Lecture at the EGU conference in Vienna was held by Prof. Michael Becken. With the title "Resources for tomorrow - how airborne geophysics can contribute for the exploration of deep mineral deposits" he presented the functionality and representative case studies of the semi-airborne EM techniques developed in the DESMEX projects.

    Used slides for download as well as a video recording (in English) can be found on the  DGG website.

    © Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft
  • April 2022: We congratulate André on his successful master's degree!

    André Bredeck successfully defended his master thesis with the title "Development of methods for UXO detection with omnidirectional borehole GPR" and now holds his master's degree.

    We congratulate and wish all the best for the future!

  • April 2023: GeoMetEr project star and kick-off meeting

    The Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE) announced the start of the research project “GeoMetEr” through a kick-off meeting on 5. April 2023. The project coordinator, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, hosted the meeting on their premises. All ten project partners, including WWU Münster, participated in the meeting to discuss the future aspects of the scientific and logistic workflows throughout the project.

    The discussion addressed the working phases during the project, starting with a detailed illustration of the proposed exploration techniques such as 3D seismics, airborne geomagnetics, and semi-airborne electromagnetics. The project members also reviewed the validation techniques that will be used to provide more confidence in the exploration results, in addition to introducing the innovative joint inversion and modeling schemes that will be implemented for a compressive understanding of the subsurface.

    During the meeting, the WWU Münster team presented results of the previously conducted test measurements in the Sigmaringen area. The results provided insights into the distribution and intensity of the electromagnetic disturbances in the area that will be taken into account while conducting the electromagnetic survey.


  • March 2023: First test measurements to evaluate potential noise sources in the context of the GeoMetEr research project

    GeoMetEr is a research project of the Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE) in cooperation with a project group led by the University of Freiberg, in which the Applied Geophysics Group of the University of Münster is also involved. The objective is to test various minimally invasive, surface geophysical measurement methods, such as airborne EM, for the subsequent selection of a repository site. Further information on the project and the search for a final repository can be found on the website of the BGE.

    In March 2023, the University of Münster carried out the first test measurements in the Sigmaringen district to assess the influence of potential EM noise sources, such as transmission towers. This information will be used to define a research area for testing further exploration methods.

    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • February 2023: AFMAG measurements near Gobabis, Namibia

    In February, the first helicopter-based AFMAG measurements were carried out as part of the DESMEX II project. AFMAG stands for audio frequency magnetics and, like magnetotellurics, is based on natural electromagnetic sources. Participating partners are the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (IPHT).

    To demonstrate the method, a region near Gobabis in Namibia was selected for which a coarsely resolved AFMAG comparison data set already exists.

    View from helicopter cockpit on the return flight from the measurement area.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • January 2023: sAEM measurements in south-western Namibia

    In the first weeks of January, complementary investigations of the Hope copper mine in Namibia were carried out in collaboration with terratec Geophysical Services, following on from the successful sAEM measurements in 2021.

    The semi-airborne electromagnetic methods developed within the DESMEX projects are particularly well suited for deep exploration of deposits, such as the exploration of this shallow-dipping massive sulphide deposit

    Drone-based exploration in the Namibian desert.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • January 2023: Discovery of rare-earth elements in Kiruna, Sweden

    Semi-airborne electromagnetic exploration of iron ore deposits in Kiruna in 2018.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik

    On 12 January 2023, Swedish mining company LKAB announced the discovery of a large deposit of rare earth metals in Kiruna - a site that was used to test DESMEX methods in 2018.

    At that time, the iron ore deposit located there was investigated, which is considered one of the largest in the world and a suitable target for validating the DESMEX exploration methods. The resulting geological subsurface models also contributed to the exploration of the rare earth metal deposits.

    Click here for the article in the news portal of the University of Münster:

  • January 2023: MT-station check in the Sauerland

    Deeply covered in snow, the magnetotelluric station in the Sauerland survived the turn of the year well.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • December 2022: Tests for long-term MT measurements in the Sauerland

    The working group installed stations for telluric broadband measurements and magnetic field measurements with fluxgate magnetometers in the Sauerland. The aim is to check the feasibility of long-term magnetotelluric measurements to obtain long-period H- and E-field data with regard to temperature-related sensor instability.

    To minimise effects of temperature fluctuations, the electrodes were deeply buried.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • September 2022: Helicopter survey in the upper Harz mountains

    New helicopter-borne semi-airborne EM data will be acquired in the upper Harz mountains. The measurements are part of the DESMEX-REAL project and will be centered around Lautenthal.

    Press release: https://www.bgr.bund.de/DE/Gemeinsames/Oeffentlichkeitsarbeit/Pressemitteilungen/BGR/bgr-2022-08-31_projekt-desmex-real-startet-mit-erster-flugkampagne-im-west-harz.html?nn=2061574

    WWU team members, 2022
    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • August 2022: New papers published

    Comeau, M. J., Becken, M., and Kuvshinov, A. V. (2022).  Imaging the whole-lithosphere architecture of a mineral system—Geophysical signatures of the sources and pathways of ore-forming fluids. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems,  23, e2022GC010379. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GC010379

    Becken, M., Kotowski, P.O., Schmalzl, J., Symons, G., Brauch, K., 2022. Semi-Airborne Electromagnetic Exploration Using a Scalar Magnetometer Suspended below a Multicopter. First Break, 40(8), 37-46. https://doi.org/10.3997/1365-2397.fb2022064

    Stolz, R., Schiffler, M., Becken, M., Thiede, A., Schneider, M., Chubak, G., Marsden, P., Bergshjorth, A.B., and Schaefer, M., and Terblanche, O. (2022). SQUIDs for magnetic and electromagnetic methods in mineral exploration. Miner Econ. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13563-022-00333-3

  • August 2022: Magnetotelluric measurements in the Hovsgol region, Mongolia

    The working group has carried out new magnetotelluric measurements in the Hovsgol region in northern Mongolia together with partners from the Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (IAG), Ulaanbaatar. New data at 86 sites were acquired and complement the existing array. The new and existing data will be used to test geodynamic hypotheses for lithospheric deformation at the edge of the Siberian platform.

    WWU and IAG team members, August 2022.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik
  • July/August 2022: Archeo-geophysical measurements at the Amyklaios sanctuary, Sparta, Greece

    Archeo-geophysical measurements were carried out near Sparta, Greece, to unravel hidden archeological structures at the Apollon Amyklaios sanctuary near Sparta. Measurements were conducted in cooperation with the Institute for Classical and Christian Archaeology of the WWU Münster and the Ionian University of Corfu.

    More Informations on the Project

    DC-resistivity measurements in Greece, 2022.
    © Institut fuer Geophysik