Processes and mechanisms within the interior of our dynamic planet cause the distribution of continents and oceans are responsible for mountain building, volcanism and seismicity.
Today we use the underground for energy, material and water supply, storage of fluids and deposits of waste. Only recently, the anthropogenic induced hazards such as seismicity and subsidence/uplift are in the focus of politicians and administrations because they not only result in loss of lifes (e.g. like at earthquake disasters) but pose risks also to society (e.g. coastal land subsidence) and cause massive financial losses.
Such a synergetic use of the underground requires modern innovative technological approaches and observatories. Here we will focus on rheological properties of geomaterials crucial for a better understanding and to face the challenges mentioned above. There is a variety of experimental setups to investigate the reply of geomaterials to changing geomechanic boundary conditions, such as the creation of new inner surfaces and openings in tunnelling and drilling, reducing or rising pore pressures in porous layers or changing the underground heat exchange volumes in geothermal reservoirs.
For rocks consisting of various, mainly low symmetric, often coarse-grained minerals with a wide variety of compositions neutron experiments open a unique window into the subsurface, as it allows high resolution examinations of natural material where rocks can be examined as a whole. Due to new instrumentations and modelling tools, we can study right now and even more in the near future relevant properties to reduce the risk associated with induced seismicity.
We will present new insights from neutron experiments and future challenges for studies of
+ Induced seismicity, caused while using the underground for hydrocarbon exploitation, geothermal energy, and storage operations
+ The possibilities of forward models to better test hypotheses
+ High pressure studies to a better understanding of the processes within the deep planetary interior.