Department

Hydrogeology & Geothermal Energy

Hydrogeology is the part of geology that deals with the properties of underground water and its dependence on the composition of the subsurface. Geothermal energy is known as the stored heat in the accessible part of Earth’s crust.

A stream is flowing through the center of a valley bordered by green meadows. Rock boulders of various sizes lie on the valley floor. A standing rman in the background is looking at the ground, a woman in the foreground is swinging a big hammer to cut off
Rock sampling for laboratory analyses of thermic rock parameters.
© Geological Survey of Austria

Task of the department together with the water economy is to estimate the ground water resources and to provide basics for the sustainable use and their protection.

Geothermal energy - a topic with which the department is also concerned since a couple of years - is one of the renewable energies. Between geothermal Energy and hydrogeology strong links exist: On the one hand the utilization of deep geothermal energy is often linked to geothermal water reservoirs and on the other on the other hand the protection of groundwater must be considered when borehole heat exchangers are installed the ground.

Research topics in hydrogeology are the groundwater and geothermal resources of Austria as well as their use: The department is dealing amongst others with water in gravel bodies, confined aquifers in sand horizons, karst waters, groundwater in crystalline areas as well as mineral and thermal waters. It documents the results in reports and publications. In particular the contents of solutions (chemical) in waters, trace elements, amount of stable isotopes and natural radionuclides, groundwater hydraulics and flow paths of underground waters are examined. In the field of geothermal energy physical rock properties such as heat conductivity, heat capacity and the local present heat flow of the earth are examined. Geological 3D-models and numerical models of groundwater and heat flow are supportively applied.