Join Now

DGMK-Project Geophysics

Application of a Probabilistic Momentum Sensor Inversion to Seismometer Data from North German Gas Fields

Research Center
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, German Research Centre for Geosciences - Dr. D. Kühn, Prof. Dr. T. Dahm
Project Accompaniment
Wintershall Dea, Hamburg - Dr. T. Bartels, Dr. J. Nüchter
EMPG, Hanover - H. Berndt, Dr. S. Graßmann
Neptune Energy Deutschland GmbH, Lingen - P. Krajewski, Dr. C. Sick
Wintershall Dea, Barnstorf - W. Jelinek
Vermilion Energy - K. Flechter
Reason and Goal

The center mechanism of seismic events is one of the most important parameters to distinguish between natural and induced earthquakes and contributes to the understanding of the cause of seismic events. Information about source mechanisms is important for hazard and risk studies of shallow earthquakes (e.g. induced earthquakes).
A novel, probabilistic full waveform moment tensor inversion will be adapted and implemented for the application in shallow micro earthquakes near gas fields in Northern Germany. The method allows to investigate uncertainties about the source mechanism due to lack of knowledge of velocity models and errors at locations. The approach also opens up the possibility of simulating ground movements for earthquake scenarios, as is increasingly demanded by regulatory authorities for hazard and risk studies.


The probabilistic moment tensor inversion ("grond", developed by Heimann et al. at GFZ Potsdam) is applied to seismometer data collected in North German gas fields to extract mechanisms of the earthquake source. The code is prepared for application by external working groups (within industry or other research institutions).


Seismometer data from a suitable region in northern Germany were collected and tested for data quality. Preliminary results indicate that the method is at least applicable for northern Germany. Specific events were modelled.

Project Status

Project Coordinator

Dr. Susanne Kuchling

Head of the Exploration and Production Department


ExxonMobil Production Germany GmbH

Neptune Energy Germany GmbH

Wintershall Dea GmbH

Wintershall Dea Germany AG

Vermilion Energy Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG