Martin O. Saar: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2019

Name Prof. Dr. Martin O. Saar
FieldGeothermal Energy and Geofluids
Institut für Geophysik
ETH Zürich, NO F 51.2
Sonneggstrasse 5
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 632 59 76
DepartmentEarth Sciences
RelationshipFull Professor

651-0032-00LGeology and Petrography4 credits2V + 1UK. Rauchenstein, M. O. Saar
AbstractThis course gives an overview of the basic concepts of geology and petrography and shows some links to the application of these concepts. The course consists of weekly lectures and bi-weekly exercises in groups.
ObjectiveThis course gives an overview of the basic concepts of geology and petrography and shows some links to the application of these concepts.
ContentGeologie der Erde, Mineralien - Baustoffe der Gesteine, Gesteine und ihr Kreislauf, Magmatische Gesteine, Vulkane und ihre Gesteine, Verwitterung und Erosion, Sedimentgesteine, Metamorphe Gesteine, Historische Geologie, Strukturgeologie und Gesteinsverformung, Bergstürze und Rutschungen, Grundwasser, Flüsse, Wind und Gletscher, Prozesse im Erdinnern, Erdbeben und Rohstoffe. Kurze Einführung in die Geologie der Schweiz.

Übungen zum Gesteinsbestimmen und Lesen von geologischen, tektonischen und geotechnischen Karten, einfache Konstruktionen.
Lecture notesWeekly handouts of PPT slides via MyStudies
LiteratureThe course is based on Press & Siever book Dynamic Earth by Grotzinger et al., available to ETH students via
651-3507-00LIntroduction to Oceanography and Hydrogeology3 credits2VD. Vance, M. O. Saar
AbstractThis course is designed to provide an introduction to hydrogeology and oceanography for all Earth Science students at ETH. It provides an overview of the physical controls on water flow in streams, aquifers, and the oceans. It also deals with the basics of groundwater chemistry, biogeochemical cycling in the oceans, the role of the oceans as carbon reservoirs and their dynamic redox state.
ObjectiveTo understand and describe the basic principles of the hydrologic cycle and water flow in streams and aquifers.

To conduct simple calculations of water transfer in streams and aquifers as well as of flood frequencies and magnitudes.

To discuss surface and groundwater as a water resource.

To interpret different ion distributions in aquifers in terms of bacic water chemistry, fluid-mineral reactions, water contamination, and water origin.

To understand the major features of ocean basins and the tectonic controls on their structure.

To identify the major controls on the temperature, salinity and density structure of the oceans.

To describe how these controls interact to drive surface and interior ocean circulation.

To interpret different kinds of element distribution in the oceans in terms of basic chemistry, sinks, sources and internal biogeochemical cycling.

To discuss the cycles of carbon and oxygen in the ocean, with a view to the critical analysis of how the oceans respond to, cause and record the dynamics of these cycles in Earth history.
ContentThis course provides an introduction to oceanography and hydrogeology, with a special focus on the basic physicochemical concepts that control the properties and behaviour of two major reservoirs of water on Earth.

The hydrogeology component will: 1) describe the hydrologic cycle, with a focus on the importance of groundwater to society; introduce the basic physical aspects of groundwater flow, including Darcy's law, hydraulic head, hydraulic conductivity, aquifers; 2) describe the basics of groundwater chemistry, including major ions and mean meteoric water line, basics of groundwater contamination; 3) introduce the interface with the oceans, including hydrothermal circulation at mid-ocean ridges, ocean-water intrusion into groundwater at coasts.

The oceanography component will: 1) provide an overview of the physical circulation of the oceans, including its importance for heat transfer around the surface of the Earth and for climate; 2) describe the basic processes that control the chemistry of the oceans, including its temporal and spatial variability; 3) introduce some simple concepts in biological oceanography, including the dependence of ocean ecology on nutrient distributions. There will be a specific focus on how the physics, chemistry and biology of the ocean might have changed through Earth history, and the impact of oceanic processes on Earth's climate.
Lecture notesAvailable
LiteratureTalley, L.D., Pickard, G.L., Emery, W.J. and Swift, J.H. Descriptive Physical Oceanography, an Introduction. (2011) Online textbook, available at

Libes, S.M. (2009) Introduction to marine biogeochemistry. 2nd edition. Academic Press
Prerequisites / NoticeChemie I and II, Physik I and II, Mathematik I and II.
651-3543-00LGeophysik I
This course replaces 651-3543-00 Seismology. Students who completed Seismology cannot attend Geophysics I.
4 credits2V + 1UD. Giardini, M. O. Saar
AbstractGeneral knowlede of seismology.
ObjectiveGeneral knowlede of seismology.
651-5113-00LGeoenergy Reading Seminar1 credit2SS. Ge, M. O. Saar
AbstractThis seminar will read and discuss papers on topics related to geoenergy, geothermal or oil and gas. The topics may range from fundamental science to technical reviews to latest research front. The discussions will be led by the lecturers and participants.
ObjectiveThe objective is to provide a forum for students to gain a broad big picture of the geoenergy research landscape and to critically think some research questions in the field.
ContentA list of papers is selected and listed below. The list may be updated based on participant input. One paper will be assigned one week in advance and discussed during one lecturer period. The seminar starts on October 2.
Each paper may inspire different questions, here are a few examples. What are the key points the paper presents? What is the big picture? is the method rigorous? What is great about the paper (brilliant ideas, cleaver approach, excellent overview, exciting results, or just fun to read)? what is not so great that we should avoid? Critical and spirited discussions are encouraged.
Literature(not in reading order)
1. Breede K, K. Dzebisashvili, X. Liu and G. Falcone. 2013. A systematic review of enhanced (or engineered) geothermal systems: past, present and future, Geothermal Energy, 1:4,
2. Ellsworth, W.L., D. Giardini, J. Townend, S. Ge, and T. Shimamoto. 2019. Triggering of the Pohang, Korea, Earthquake (Mw 5.5) by Enhanced Geothermal System Stimulation, Seismological Research Letters.
3. Foulger, G.R., M.P. Wilson, J.G. Gluyas, B.R. Julian, R.J. Davies, 2018. Global review of human-induced earthquakes, Earth-Science Reviews 178, 438–514
4. Goebel, T.H.W., M. Weingarten, X. Chen, J. Haffenerc, and E. E. Brodsky. 2017. The 2016 Mw5.1 Fairview, Oklahoma earthquakes: Evidence for long-range poroelastic triggering at >40 km from fluid disposal wells, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 472, 50-61.
5. Günter Blöschl et al., 2019. Twenty-three unsolved problems in hydrology (UPH) – a community perspective, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 64 (10), 1141–1158.
6. Lu, Shyi-Min, 2018, A global review of enhanced geothermal system (EGS), Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 81, 2902–2921
7. Saar, M.O. 2011. Review: Geothermal heat as a tracer of large-scale groundwater flow and as a means to determine permeability fields, special theme issue on Environmental Tracers and Groundwater Flow, editor-invited peer-reviewed contribution Hydrogeology Journal, 19, pp. 31-52, 2011.
8. Segall, P. and S. Lu. 2015, Injection-induced seismicity: Poroelastic and earthquake nucleation effects, Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, 120, 5082–5103, doi:10.1002/2015JB012060
9. Shirzaei, M., W. Ellsworth, K. Tiampo, P.J. Gonzalez and M. Manga. 2016. Surface uplift and time-dependent seismic hazard due to fluid injection in eastern Texas, Science, vol. 353, 1416-1419.
10. Zang, A., Oye, V., Jousset, P., Deichmann, N., Gritto, R., McGarr, A., Majer, E., Bruhn, D., 2014. Analysis of induced seismicity in geothermal reservoirs - an overview. Geothermics 52, 6–21.
669-0102-00LAutumn Course: Utilisation of Geothermal Energy Restricted registration - show details
Only for CAS in Angewandten Erdwissenschaften.
2 credits2GM. O. Saar, P. Bayer, A. Ebigbo
AbstractThe course focuses on current issues in the field of shallow geothermal energy such as mutual interference, temperature evolution in urban areas and questions of quality assurance. The course covers the basic processes, application examples and the presentation of new developments.