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What is the ITHERLAB project about?

ITHERLAB: ­ In-situ thermal rock properties lab

The ITHERLAB project is a MCSA IF project awarded to S. Fuchs and investigates the influence of in-situ (present state in the geological subsurface) pressure and temperature on rock thermal properties (thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity) as the essential rock parameters in the evaluation of the Earth thermal field. The ITHERLAB project will establish mathematical formulations for p/T dependence of both parameters and demonstrate whether micro-structural effects affect these relations for different rock types. For that purpose, an innovative laboratory device will be developed and pilot-tested allowing for dry and saturated rocks measurements of thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity at pressures and temperatures that are simultaneously raised to values up to 200 MPa and 200°C, respectively. These are the conditions for depths (to approx. 7 km) that are of interest in the use of Earth resources, such as geothermal energy or hydrocarbons. Currently, no laboratory standard procedure exists for this task.

Key information: more details | scientific background | structure & workpackages | progress and results | team |


16.05.2018 - 4 month break and extension

During the summer period, the fellow is taking a four month break for professional reasons (proposal writing, lab work, etc.). In turn, the project runtime will be extended from end of November to end of March 2019.
Category: Dissemination

28.04.2018 - Milestone reached

Laboratory measurements (standard method) under ambient p/T conditions are finished.
Category: Progress & Result

02.03.2018 - Milestone reached

Elevated p/T conditions can be safely applied simultaneously to the measurement cell.
Category: Progress & Result

01.03.2018 - Elevated temperature conditions

Elevated temperature conditions of up to 300 °C were safely applied to the device.

15.12.2017 - Elevated pressure conditions

Elevated pressure conditions of up to 300 MPa were safely applied to the device.

30.11.2017 - Announcement: Bergfest / Status meeting

End of November saw our Bergfest status meeting.

01.09.2017 - Announcement for Winter term: Lecture at the University of Potsdam

Sven Fuchs and Ben Norden will give the new lecture on fundamentals of geothermics at the University of Potsdam in the winter term 2017/18. (18.10.2017 - 09.02.2018, every Wednesday; 2:15 pm - 3:45 pm)


The module provides an introduction into heat transfer processes relevant within the Earth crust, enabling the students to understand the evolution of heat and temperature in the crust. Beside the theoretical and physical background, methods for the determination of thermo-physical properties are presented and discussed. These include aspects of data generation (measurements) as well as the processing of the data and the interpretation of thermal properties in terms of geodynamic processes and the utilization of the subsurface. The lecture will be complemented by practical exercises based on real sample data. Finally, the one-week block course comprises two days of laboratory work, one day of field measurements and two days hands-on training in data evaluation and thermal modeling.

The registration list (required as this is a facultative module) is available at the secretariat (house 27, Campus Golm).

*** UPDATE ***

German Version: youtube...

Category: Public outreach, The fellow, The Team

03.08.2017 - Poster at IAG-IASPEI meeting in Kobe, Japan

On August the 3rd, a first poster with selected results of the pT business was presented at the IAG-IASPEI meeting [Joint Scientific Assembly of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) and International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior (IASPEI)]. The presentation entitled with 'Geotherms of the continental crust: ambiguity from experimental P–T correction to thermal conductivity' was presented in Symposium: S24. Methods and instruments of experimental geothermics – Application and recent evolution; Session: S24-P.

Category: Public outreach, The fellow

15.07.2017 - 2 month break and extension


The fellow is taking two month of parental leave. In turn, the project runtime will be extended from end of September to end of November 2018.

Category: Dissemination

14.07.2017 - Talk at MinPet-Seminar at the UP


On July the 14th, the fellow gave a talk at the MinPet-seminar at the University of Potsdam entitled: How minerals drive the geophysical temperature exploration of the subsurface space (MinPet-Seminar online).

Category: Public outreach, The fellow

24.06.2017 - Outreach: Talk at #LNDW17


On June the 24th, Sven Fuchs gave a public talk entitled: "Geothermie, Öl & Endlager"-Prognosen: Wie heiß darf es denn werden, bitte? [Geothermal energy, hydrocarbons & nuclear waste repositories: How hot can it be?] at the Long Night of the Sciences 2017 (Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften in Potsdam, Germany).

Category: Public outreach

21.06.2017 - Helmholtz Management Academy successfully completed


On June the 21th, the fellow was awarded for successfully attending the " Start-Leading" Course 2017 at the Helmholtz Management Academy. (Program details ).

Category: The fellow

20.05.2017 - Outreach: Geology Rocks Kids


The fellow introduced pre-school kids into the rock cycle and the importance of geology for their daily life. The GeologyRocksKids activity was factually supported by the GeoWunderWerkstatt.

Category: Public outreach

08.05.2017 - Status meeting

8th May 2017 saw the first status meeting of the ITHERLAB project in Potsdam, Germany.

12.04.2017 - Helmholtz Academy: ‘Start leading’


Sven Fuchs successfully applied for the Helmholtz-Academy program ’Start leading’. The half-year course of 3 modules (10 days) in 2017 focuses on self-reflection and developing leadership skills, as well as self-management and the understanding of complex organizations.

01.03.2017 - Potsdam Graduate School: Senior Teaching Professionals


The fellow was selected to attend the ’Senior Teaching Professionals’ Course at the Potsdam-Graduate-School. The one-year course focuses on didactic training to improve teaching skills and includes the design of competence-oriented lesson, teaching sessions, subject-specific support and feedback by mentee as well as collegial consultation. Connected to this program, Sven Fuchs will develop a lecture for the winter term 2017/18 at the University of Potsdam.


11.11.2016 - Lecture at the University of Greifswald

Sven Fuchs gives the lecture on introduction into geophysics at the University of Greifswald in the winter term 2016/17.

04.10.2016 - Kick-off meeting held in Potsdam

4th October 2016 saw the Kick-off meeting of the ITHERLAB project in Potsdam, Germany. This meeting brought together all members of the project team to plan the work of the first three to six month.

01.10.2016 - Project start

The official project run time of ITHERLAB starts. The duration of the project will be until September 30, 2018.


01.09.2016 - Launch of the website

The project website has been released on 1st of September (deliverable) and allows you to quickly inform yourself about the objectives, goals and results of the project.

Category: Public outreach

01.06.2016 - Online announcements

Some online announcements related to ITHERLAB has been published : Homepage of the GFZ Potsdam, EU - CORDIS, and Das dritte Mittel.

Category: Public outreach


11.04.2016 - First newspaper article

A first newspaper article that shortly describes the aim of ITHERLAB was launched in the regional German newspaper "Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung".

Category: Public outreach