New research into the dynamics of the deep subsurface under the influence of human interventions

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The research programme DeepNL of the Dutch Research Counsil NWO aims to improve the fundamental understanding of the dynamics of the deep subsurface under the influence of human interventions. Eight new projects will start soon, with TU Delft involved in six of them.

The granted projects focus, among others, on developing geological models of the Dutch subsurface, studying processes that can lead to induced earthquakes and developing models that predict these earthquakes. The eight projects encompass a total budget of more than 8 million euros. TU Delft department Geoscience and Engineering (GSE) is main applicant in three projects.

Knowledge and trust in geoenergy

With the project CrossScale, Sebastian Geiger (GSE) and his colleagues will develop new technologies to build better models of the subsurface with already available measurement data. The new models ensure that subsurface activities, like geothermal energy of CO2 storage, can be executed safely and sustainably. With expertise of researchers from the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM), they will develop a new Q&A process that improves the trust by engaging the wider public when developing such subsurface activities.

Predicting earthquakes and their effects on ground motion

Ranajit Ghose (GSE), along with Karel van Dalen (Dynamics of Solids & Structures), will venture into a better prediction of earthquake-induced ground motion, in a project named DAMPINGSOIL. These motions are partly determined by damping ratio and strain-dependent modulus and damping curves. With this new research project, these often unknown parameters can be determined.

In her research project NEPTUNUS, Femke Vossepoel (GSE) will combine available observations of the Groningen field with earthquake models, in order to gain more insight into the origin of induced earthquakes. With this, she and her colleagues aim to minimize the risk of seismicity in geothermal operations.


The research programme DeepNL aims to improve the fundamental understanding of the dynamics of the deep subsurface under the influence of human interventions and the resulting effects at the Earth’s surface. DeepNL focuses on induced earthquakes and subsidence caused by gas extraction in the Groningen area. In addition, DeepNL develops insight into processes and models and methodologies that contribute to a knowledge base for the safe use of the Dutch subsurface for e.g. geothermal energy production and underground storage of CO2 and hydrogen.

Granted projects with TU Delft involvement

INTEGRATION: Integrated subsurface modelling beneath Groningen and on-shore Netherlands from multi-data probabilistic inversions
Main applicant: Dr. J.C. Afonso (UT)
Co-applicants: M. van der Meijde (UT); Dr. B. Root (TU Delft); Dr. S.J.T. Hangx (UU); Dr. I.E.A.M. Fadel (UT)

CrossScale: Constraining uncertainties across scales: From Groningen to future geoenergy applications
Main applicant: S. Geiger (TU Delft)
Co-applicants: Dr. J.M. Miocic (RUG); Dr. H.A. Abels (TU Delft); Dr. A. Daniilidis (TU Delft); Dr. A.M.H. Pluymakers (TU Delft); Dr. A. Barnhoorn (TU Delft); Dr. A.F. Correljé (TU Delft); Dr. G. de Vries (TU Delft)

DAMPINGSOIL: Providing the missing information of elastic damping ratio and strain-dependent modulus and damping curves for reliable, local site response analysis
Main applicant: Dr. R. Ghose (TU Delft)
Co-applicant: Dr. K.N. van Dalen (TU Delft)

Developing a Data-Constrained Forecasting Model of Surface Deformation in the Groningen gas Field Region
Main applicant: Dr. R. Govers (UU)
Co-applicants: R.F. Hanssen (TU Delft); E. Stouthamer (UU); Dr. F.C. Vossepoel (TU Delft)

SHAWave: Seismic Hazard Assessment for Future Subsurface Activities: A Waveform-based Approach
Main applicant: M. van der Meijde (UT)
Co-applicants: Dr. ir. C.V. Verhoosel (TU/e); Dr. K. Weemstra (TU Delft); Dr. ir. J.J.C. Remmers (TU/e); ir. D.M.J. Smeulders (TU/e); Dr. I.E.A.M. Fadel (UT)

NEPTUNUS: Novel methods for the Evaluation and Physical understanding of the Transient natUre of iNdUced Seismicity
Main applicant: Dr. ir. F.C. Vossepoel (TU Delft)
Co-applicants: Prof. J.D. Jansen (TU Delft); J.D.A.M. van Wees (UU); Dr. ir. H.J. van Waarde (RUG); Dr. Y. van Dinther (UU)

Read the abstracts of all eight awarded proposals.