Scientific working groups

The research carried out within the framework of the ITI GeoT combines the geosciences, computer sciences, engineering, and social sciences. We contribute to the development of new carbon-free georesources by working on better ways to characterise, exploit, and monitor deep crustal reservoirs and understanding the evolution of public perception around these projects.

The ITI GeoT is organised into 9 disciplinary scientific working groups. These working groups conduct cutting-edge research, often engaging in inter-group, international and industrial collaboration.

WG1 Seismology

The WG1 Seismology aims at imaging and monitoring underground reservoirs to understand their structure and dynamic, using data acquired by permanent or temporary seismic station networks. The group mostly concentrates on the use of passive seismic data including natural or induced seismicity and ambient seismic vibrations (also called “seismic noise”) generated by natural or anthropogenic sources. Such cutting-edge approaches complement and can overcome some of the limitations of traditional methods used in oil and gas industries and relying mostly on active sources. 



Leaders: Jérôme Vergne & Olivier Lengliné (EOST)

Members (EOST/ITES): 

Jean Schmittbuhl, Benoît Derode, Serge Sambodian, Marc Grunberg, Antoine Schlupp, Hélène Jund, Cécile Doubre, Dimitri Zigone, Sophie Lambotte, Alessia Maggi, Maxime Bes de Berc, Mathieu Turlure

  • Post-docs : Weiwei Shu, Zhiwei Wang, Javier Abreu Torres, Ricardo Minetto
  • PhD candidates : Rémi Fiori, Kamel Drif, Yunliang Wang, Flavien Mattern, Rachit Gautam

WG 2: Geodesy

This group focuses on measuring potential surface deformations associated with deep geothermal fluid injections that can trigger earthquakes and transient aseismic slip events at depth. It uses a variety of measurements including GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) observations, InSAR (Interferometry Synthetic Aperture Radar) observations as well as tilt-meter and strain-meter recordings.


Leader: Baptiste Rousset (CNRS, ITES)

Members (EOST/ITES): C. Doubre, F. Masson

WG 3: Potential methods

This group surveys the evolution of the subsurface during geothermal exploitation (specifically at the Soultz-sous-Forêts and Rittershoffen geothermal sites) and explores for deep resources using gravimetric and magnetotelluric (MT) methods.

It uses the hybrid micro-gravity monitoring (combination of these different types of gravimeters) in order to show how this technique contributes to the sustainable management of this renewable energy. Indeed, the gravity method highlights the mass redistribution and, consequently, helps to quantify the mass transfer (recharge/discharge) within the geothermal reservoir.

It applies this technique to the Theistareykir geothermal field in North Iceland that produces 90 Mwe since 2018. On one hand, it uses a relative micro-gravity network of 27 stations measured from 2017 to 2022 i.e. before and after the beginning of the geothermal production, with a Scintrex CG5 relative gravimeter (RG). On the other hand, in the frame of a cooperation with GFZ Potsdam, it also benefits from the continuous gravity changes recorded at 3 permanent stations with iGrav superconducting gravimeters (SG). These meters are calibrated with a FG5 ballistic absolute gravimeter (AG) belonging to EOST and the yearly AG campaigns allow us to remove the (small) instrumental drift of the iGravs.

The hybrid micro-gravity method (RG, SG and AG) is used to investigate the gravity changes in relation to geothermal activity parameters like injection and extraction rates. The comparison of the gravity changes due to mass redistribution to what is expected from the injection/extraction rates allows us to speculate on the sustainability of the Theistareykir power plant since the start of exploitation in terms of discharge/recharge of the geothermal reservoir.


Leader: Jean François Girard (EOST)

Members: J. Hinderer, Y. Abdelfettah, J.-D. Bernard

Extern partners 

ONERA, France (N. Portier)

Università ‘‘Federico II’’ di Napoli, Naples, Italy (U. Riccardi)

GFZ Potsdam, Germany (P. Jousset,  B. Giuliante)

Landsvirkjun, Iceland (A. Mortensen)

University of Iceland (F. Sigmundsson, C. Lanzi)

Icelandic Meteorological Office (V. Drouin)


Portier, N., Forster, F., Hinderer, J., Erbas, K., Jousset, P., Drouin, V., Li S., Sigmundsson, F., Magnússon, I., Hersir, G., Ágústsson, K., Guðmundsson, A., Júlíusson, E., Hjartasson, H.,  & Bernard, J.-D.,  2022. Hybrid microgravity monitoring of the Theistareykir geothermal reservoir (North Iceland), Pure Appl. Geophys., 179, 1935–1964,

Schäfer, F., Jousset, P., Güntner, A., Erbas, K., Hinderer, J., Rosat, S., Voigt, C., Schöne, T., & Warburton, R. (2020). Performance of three iGrav superconducting gravity meters before and after transport to remote monitoring sites, Geophys. J. Int.,  223, Issue 2, , 959–972,

Forster, F., Güntner, A., Jousset, P., Reich, M., Männel, B., Hinderer, J., & Erbas, K., 2021. Environmental and anthropogenic gravity contributions at the Þeistareykir geothermal field, North Iceland. Geotherm Energy 9, 26 (2021).

Hinderer, J., Warburton, R.J., Rosat, S., Riccardi, U., Boy, J., Forster, F., Jousset, P., Güntner, A., Erbas, K., Littel, F., & Bernard, J.D. (2022). Intercomparing Superconducting Gravimeter Records in a Dense Meter-Scale Network at the J9 Gravimetric Observatory of Strasbourg, France. PAGEOPH, 179, 1701 - 1727.

WG 4: Rock physics and geomechanics

The main focus of the "rock physics and geomechanics" working group is to provide laboratory data on the mechanical, physical, and hydraulic properties of rocks to better understand topics related to the energy transition. To do so, it uses a variety of purpose-built equipment at the Strasbourg Institute of Earth & Environment (ITES) designed to investigate the deformation behaviour and fluid flow properties of the Earth's crust.


Leader: Michael Heap (ITES)

Members (ITES): P. Baud, T. Reuschlé, B. Renaudie

Intern and extern partners:

G. Marquis (EOST), J.F. Girard (EOST), G. Bozetti (ITES),

T-F. Wong (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong), M. Violay (EPSL, Switzerland), N. Brantut (UCL, UK)


The Permeability of Porous Volcanic Rock Through the Brittle-Ductile Transition. Michael J. Heap, Gabriel G. Meyer, Corentin Noël, Fabian B. Wadsworth, Patrick Baud, Marie E. S. Violay. JGR Solid Earth.

Permeability anisotropy in sandstones from the Soultz-sous-Forêts geothermal reservoir (France): implications for large-scale fluid flow modelling. Margaux Goupil, Michael J. Heap, Patrick Baud. Geothermal Energy.

Influence of water on deformation and failure of gypsum rock. Chiara Caselle, Patrick Baud, Alexandra R.L. Kushnir, Thierry Reuschlé, Sabrina M.R. Bonetto. Journal of Structural Geology.

Effect of water on sandstone's fracture toughness and frictional parameters: Brittle strength constraints. Corentin Noël, Patrick Baud, Marie Violay. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences.

WG 5: Hydro-geochemistry

The hydro-geochemistry working group uses isotopic tracing and numerical models to study material transfer related to fluid-rock interactions in geothermal systems. The group also studies microbiology in geothermal contexts and the kinematics of mineral alteration.


Leader: Damien Lemarchand & Jesica Murray

Members (EOST/ITES): B. Fritz, Y. Lucas, S. Gerhard, A. Wallentin

WG 6: Geology

The working group Geology within the ITI GeoT project aims to develop research in the domain of the energy transition. Four research themes are defined:

  1. Geological reservoirs (PI G. Bozetti) aims to understand how facies distribution and architectural elements control fluid flow and reservoir properties of the Buntsandstein Formation, one of the main georeservoirs in the Rhine Graben and surrounding areas.
  2. Heat flow (PIs B. Petri and F. Chopin) tries to define the composition of the lower crust and evaluate implications for basal heat flow in the Upper Rhine Graben (URG) using petrological, geochemical, geochronological and thermal modelling approaches on high-grade metamorphic rocks retrieved from Tertiary and Quaternary volcanoes as well as from the Vosges and Black Forest crystalline massifs.
  3. H2_serpentine (PI M. Ulrich) aims to understand serpentinisation processes and their implications for the energy transition and more particularly to understand the generation of native hydrogen using exhumed mantle outcrops in the Alpes  
  4. Lithium (PI M. Schuster) tries to understand the link between paleo-climate and environmental changes and the enrichment of lithium in evaporites with the aim to develop a play element based Li exploration strategy in continental rift basins 

These four projects are developed in collaboration with the other working groups as well as national and international colleagues to reinforce the research activity in the Geology System group.


Leaders: Gianreto Manatschal (ITES) 

Members (EOST/ITES): G. Bozetti, B. Petri, F. Chopin, M. Ulrich, M. Schuster, L. Bonfill, G. Knobelock

Intern and extern partners:

L. Gindre-CHANU ; TERRA GEOSCIENCES (Dijon, France)


WG 7: Social sciences

This group focuses on the study of public perception of geothermal projects, analyses of scientific controversies, and mediation devices (surveys and public debates). To do this, the group uses sociological surveys (questionnaires, interviews, focus groups) and analyses of the media.


Leader: Philippe Chavot (LISEC)

Members (LISEC/CREM/SAGE): Y. Serrano, A. Masseran, J. Zoungrana, J. Arnaud

WG 8: CDGP (Center for Deep Geothermal Data)

One of the key objectives of the LabEx G-eau-thermie Profonde initiative was to put in place a data repository to archive and disseminate data collected from deep geothermal sites in the Alsace region, while adhering to intellectual property rights: the CDGP

The working group in the ITI GeoT aims to carry out this same objectif and maintaining the CDGP as an active member of the EPOS Thematic Core Services Anthropogenic Hazards. You can learn more here:


Leader: Benoît Derode (EOST)

Members (EOST/ITES): S. Benlalam, F. Engels, M. Grunberg, H. Jund

WG 9: Numerical modelling

The numerical modelling working group aims at gathering the actors of the numerical models as well as the tools of validation of the models, the latter being also analog models.

The different axes programmed in the activity of the WG9:

  1.  Analogical models (J. Schmittbuhl)
  2. Experimental validation tools (V. Tinard, J. Schmittbuhl, J. Lin, P. Pfeifer)
  3. Digital tools (J. Schmittbuhl, V. Magnenet, C. Fond)
  4. 3D numerical modeling of fluid injection in faults, numerical modeling of fault sealing (J. Schmittbulh, Q. Deng, D. Javani, G. Blöcher, M. Cacace)
  5. FE modeling of wave propagation for the study of acousto-elastical effects in the monitoring of deep geothermal reservoirs. CODA WAVES INTERFEROMETRY (CWI) (J. Azzola, D. Zigone, O. Lengliné, F. Masson, V. Magnenet)
  6. Abiotic hydrogen generation from biotite-rich granite: A case study of the Soultz-sous-Forêts geothermal site, France (J. Schmittbuhl, B. Fritz)

Leader: Vincent Magnenet (ICube)

Members (EOST/ITES/ICube): P. Pfeiffer, J. Lin, J. Schmittbuhl, V. Tinard, Q. Deng, D. Zigone, O. Lengliné, F. Masson, B. Fritz, D. Javani, J. Abreu Torres, Z. Wang

Extern partners:

G. Blöcher (GFZ), M. Cacace (GFZ), J. Azzola (KIT)