Quaternary boreholes

Deposits of unconsolidated rocks from the Quaternary – the most recent geological time period from around 2.5 million years ago to the present – provide information on erosion processes and tectonic activity in the past. These deposits are therefore investigated using boreholes.

The data from the Quaternary boreholes can be used to reconstruct past processes and understand them better. This allows more reliable conclusions to be drawn about how the landscape will evolve in the future and hence about the long-term safety of a deep geological repository. In comparison, Nagra’s exploratory (deep) boreholes are used mainly to investigate deeper consolidated rock layers.

Where will the boreholes be drilled?

The Quaternary boreholes are used for the geological investigation of scientifically selected areas of Northern Switzerland. Depending on the geological situation, the boreholes are planned both within and outside the siting regions Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost (see map). The locations of the boreholes depend on where the Quaternary deposits occur, based on information from the seismic measurements.

Open for inspection in the local communities

Nagra is submitting applications for exploration permits as part of the geological investigations for Stage 3. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) is responsible for reviewing the applications and they will then be available for inspection in the affected communities and can be downloaded here (in German).

Work starts on the Quaternary borehole after the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) has issued the permit. The first Quaternary borehole started in Riniken at the beginning of March 2018.

Quartärbohrungen der Nagra: Auf der Bohrstelle (in German)


Interview zu den Quartärbohrungen der Nagra: Die jüngste Erdgeschichte erkunden (in German)