Master Field School
Master Sciences de la Terre et des planètes, environnementParcours Geosciences for the energy system transition


The Upper Rhine Graben (URG) is world-renowned for its geothermal resources which already provide renewable, base-load capable thermal energy. The goal of the Geothermal Master Field School – created in partnership by the Université de Strasbourg (UdS), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), and the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (UF) – is the transnational education of next-generation experts through an innovative, annual 9-day field school. Held in Northern Alsace (France), in direct vicinity to the geothermal sites in Soultz-sous-Forêts and Rittershoffen, the course will teach students to apply theoretical geoscience concepts on the evolution of a deep geothermal system from exploration to exploitation. By acquiring and analyzing field data in geology, geophysics, and geochemistry, conceptual models of a deep reservoir will be constructed, supported by state-of-the-art case studies of the nearby geothermal sites. Students will develop comprehensive plans for exploiting a geothermal anomaly and finally work together to mount public information schemes on operation failure, like a simulated induced seismic event. The course thus exposes students to real-world decision-making processes related to the industrial exploitation of renewable georesources. The detailed course program includes:

Days 1 / 2: Introduction to energy exploitation and geology of the URG (UdS, KIT, UF) – Visits to the Musée du Pétrole and quarries will give students an overview of the legendary energy exploitation in Alsace. Local geology, physical properties and stress field are characterized from microstructure analysis of local reservoir rocks supported by borehole geophysics.

Days 3 / 4: Geophysical exploration: Fields surveys and data analysis (UdS, KIT) - Students will learn to install and conduct various types of geophysical survey for geothermal reservoir exploration: gravimetry, magnetotellurics, and seismics. Students will then process and interpret the data and use these results to tailor reservoir models.

Days 5 / 6: Fluid-rocks interactions in a geothermal reservoir (UF, KIT) - Students will review concepts of aqueous geochemistry in geothermal fluids to assess thermal/pressure variations, dissolution/precipitation reactions, and porosity changes in the reservoir rocks. Numerical modelling will be carried out by case studies of reactive flow and scaling.

Day 7 / 8: Reservoir development (KIT) - Using the drilling concepts and the URG reservoir model, students will propose target locations for exploitation. Students will apply knowledge of coring, hydrotesting, and reservoir enhancement to construct a resource exploitation plan and visit the geothermal sites at Soultz-sous-Forêts and Rittershoffen.

Day 9: Energy production management exercise (UdS, KIT, UF) - Students will work in cooperation to mount a cohesive response and societal information on induced seismicity. The developed models assist in predicting and tracking microseismic activity, to prepare recommendations for industry, authorities, and statements for the public.