The central task of the department at the Geologic Survey of Austria is the development and application of geophysical methods for resolving geological questions.

A meadow with bushes and forested mountains in the background. Clear sky with single clouds. Five people are in the meadow. Two are at a large, almost six meter long measuring instrument. Two operate a movie camera.
Airborne geophysical measurements with the help of a helicopter of the Austrian army.
© Geological Survey of Austria
Metal rods arrangend in a row are inserted in a meadow. The rod are linked with yellow cords.
“Insights” in the underground via geoelectrical measurements.
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

As listed "tasks" of the institutional order of the Geological Survey of Austria from 27th of January 2003 under § 4, one of the tasks of the department is the acquisition and processing of geophysical data of federal territory within the frame of the program of the Geologic Survey of Austria. Regarding the interpretation of these definitions of tasks, the main task of the Geophysics department is the development and application of geophysical methods for resolving geological questions. Hereby geophysics is granted an interdisciplinary role. This is how geophysics supports all other scientific fields, by providing three-dimensional data of all works performed at the geological survey, namely in the fields of mineral resources, engineering geology, hydrogeology und geological mapping. For a better understanding the work done by the department can be divided into three parts: geophysical mapping, geophysical basic research in the applied field and in addition the development of innovative application fields for geophysical methods, whereby obviously many synergies occur.

The department investigates the structure of earth with physical measuring methods. Hereby many different techniques are applied, for example the method for the evaluation of electrical resistivity with the help of electromagnetics, geoelectrics and induced polarization. Furthermore, methods are used to determine the Earth's magnetic field, the radioactive radiation (gamma-ray spectrometry) and the velocity of propagation of seismic waves.

Due to the differences in measured parameters horizontal and vertical models of the underground can be implemented. These models serve as a support for the estimation of the geological structure, issues of groundwater distribution, exploring of mineral resources, localisation of polluted areas and finally for radiation protection.