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A fundamental goal of the Earth Sciences is to describe the evolution of our planet quantitatively from its origins to the present using the principles of physics, chemistry and biology. In Geophysics major questions concern the structure and dynamics of the Earth, its relation to other terrestrial planets, the behavior of Earth materials, the origin and exploration for mineral resources, and last but not least seismic hazards. In all these areas Geophysics - just as the Geosciences in general - is currently undergoing a revolution as profound as that of the 1960s when our systematic exploration of the seafloor established plate tectonics. Today the intellectual excitement stems from rapid progress in our remote sensing capabilities - in the Earth's interior through high resolution seismic or magnetic imaging, at the surface through Earth orbiting satellites - combined with unparalleled modeling power using modern high-performance computing. For the coming decade this development promises rapid progress in our ability to understand a large range of complex Earth processes.

Archaeological Prospection

Magnetogram of a neolithic earthwork Steinabrunn, Austria

The Archaeological Prospection Group Munich at the Bavarian State Department for Monuments and Sites (BLFD) has been responsible for non-destructive geophysical survey methods for archaeology in Bavaria since 1982. In cooperation with the Institute of Geophysics, LMU Munich, development and adaptation of geophysical instruments as well as comprehensive research on the magnetic properties of soils are the fundamental objectives of the group.


Basic components of a Web Service

Taking a broad approach the term GeoComputing can be interpreted as the application of techniques from the fields of Informatics and Scientific Computing to problems in the Geo Sciences. The importance of GeoComputing is growing constantly.


Mantle Connection Simulation

Geodynamics is concerned with the physical processes that drive motion like mountain building or plate tectonics in the Earth and planets. By its nature it is highly interdisciplinary, and provides the link between such diverse areas in the Earth sciences as tectonics, paleomagnetism, seismology, mineral physics, geochemistry or geodesy.


Sampling sediments in the Southern Alps

Paleomagnetism is a powerful tool for deciphering the deformation history of rocks and reconstructing plate motions. Magnetic techniques can also be used to investigate climate change: through susceptibility records, or hydrologic processes, via alteration and secondary growth of magnetic minerals. By studying reversal frequency, paleointensity, secular variation, etc., one can unravel the thermal history of the Earth, the nature of the D” boundary layer, and the origin of the geodynamo, which Einstein considered one of the most important unsolved problems in physics.



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The emphasis of our research activities lies in the area of computational seismology, i. e. the development of numerical methods for computing seismic wave propagation and rupture processes. Furthermore, tomographic methods based on these achievements allow us to account for the three-dimensional character of earth models and wave fields. These methods comprise e. g. the finite difference method, pseudospectrals, finite (spectral) elements and finite volumes.


The Geophysics-section is also uniquely placed in that it manages two observatories in the vicinity of Munich - one each for geomagnetism and seismology - as part of a worldwide network.

For more details please view our Geophysics homepage.

Created by Helen Anne Pfuhl last modified 25. Oct 2008 09:50
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Printed 27. Feb 2017 10:39