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Further Information


Fig. 1: Water-rock-interaction (water on Grimsel granodiorite).

The petrographical and petrological characterisation of rocks which are in permanent contact with groundwater, especially in fractured aquifers, provides important information about the input of elements in groundwater. Groundwater and meteoric water reacts with the rock until chemical equilibrium between the two systems is achieved. For example, the solution of carbonates results in the formation of karst systems over geological periods of time. Also, due to water-rock-interaction petrogenetic minerals like feldspar and mica are dissolved in crystalline rocks (Fig. 1) which cause input of different elements in the groundwater.

Fig. 2: Thin section of a gneiss.

The modal mineral composition (Fig. 2), fluid inclusions (Fig. 3), and the chemistry of rocks provide information about the composition of hydrothermal palaeo waters which have circulated once in the aquifers. Those information play an important role in the palaeohydrological evaluation of hydrogeological systems and in the prospection of secondary ore deposits.

Fig. 3: Fluid inclusions.

The analysis of isotopes of petrogenetic elements offers a valuable tool for the interpretation of water-rock-interaction. The analysis of δ13C of carbonates, the 86Sr/87Sr ratio of feldspars as well as δ34S of sulphates (e.g. gypsum) and sulphides (e.g. pyrite) provides hints to the genesis of these minerals. In combination with isotopy from dissolved compontents information about possible water-rock-interaction can be derived.

The isotope ratios of trace elements like uranium and thorium are important tools for the dating of rocks. These methods are commonly used in petrology.

The knowledge about the mineralogical and chemical composition of rocks is also important with respect to dating of old groundwaters using noble gas isotopes. Specific isotopes of the elements uranium, thorium, potassium, and lithium which are present in petrogenetic minerals in different concentrations decay to noble gases. In situ produced noble gas isotopes are released into porewater and further into groundwater. With the age of the rock, the element concentration in the rock, and the noble gas isotope concentration in rock and in the water the  age of very old waters can be estimated.






Fig. 4:  Soil investigation.

Detected contents of organic pollutants and heavy metalls are often present in soils of abandoned industrial sites or shooting ranges.

Orienting investigations of organic, inorganic, and radioactive anthropogenic pollutants in soil are a key for the evaluation of such contaminations as well as for the development of concepts of remedial actions.






Fig.5: Precipitation.

Precipitations (scalings) are a common phenomenon in water pipes of geothermal energy plants (primary and secondary circuit) and heat pump systems. Changes of pressure and/or temperature of the thermal water in geothermal energy plants can cause oversaturation which consequently leads to scaling. This, however, blocks the pipe system and prevents the pumping of water.

 Fig. 6: Scaling.

To develop applicable concepts for avoiding precipitations (Fig. 5, 6) in geothermal energy systems a mineralogical and geochemical characterisation of the scalings (Fig. 7) is mandatory.




Fig. 7: Analysis.







Construction material

Fig. 8: Concrete damage.

The contact of construction materials such as concrete or construction steel with water can cause changes in the chemical and physical parameters of the materials. Corrosion can occur at the unintentional contact of material with water of high mineralisation which lowers the stability of the construction components as a consequenz. The corrosive potential of water with certain chemical characteristics to a defined material can be calculated according to DIN EN 12502 and DIN EN 4030.

Fig. 9: Corrosion of construction steel.

In case of concrete losses (Fig. 8) and corrosion processes of implemented construction steel elements (Fig. 9) the physical and chemical parameters of the material have to be studied for the evaluation of the loss and the assessment of possible reconstruction concepts. Is the concrete loss induced by water it is recommended to analyse the compressive resistence, the raw density, the open porosity, the water content, the water penetration depth, and the cement content of the damaged concrete. The corrosion probability of implemented armouring can be estimated by determining the mobile chlorides.

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from the 24th of December to the 1st of January 2018.