P3 Structural Controls of the Hydrological Functioning of a Floodplain

People Involved

Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Olaf A. Cirpka

University of Tübingen, Hydrogeology

Dr. Carsten Leven

University of Tübingen, Hydrogeology

Prof. Dr. Peter Dietrich

University of Tübingen, Environmental and Engineering Geophysics & Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ), Department of Monitoring and Exploration Technologies


Dr. Stefan Klingler

University of Tübingen, Environmental and Engineering Geophysics (PhD finished 06/2021)

Jonas Allgeier, MSc (associated)

University of Tübingen, RTG Hydrosystem Modelling

Simon Martin, MSc

University of Tübingen, Hydrogeology

Research Questions and General Approach

Research Questions

Floodplains are important landscape elements connecting streams with their catchment. While strong gradients of biogeochemical parameters are often observed in organic-rich floodplain sediments, the strength of groundwater flow through reducing sediments determines how important these zones are for the receiving water body.

The floodplain of River Ammer between Pfäffingen and Tübingen is fairly typical for the hilly landscapes found in Triassic geology. Like in many other cases, the hydrology of this floodplain is poorly understood regarding three main aspects:

These hydrological factors influence the fate of nitrate and other pollutants introduced at the hillslopes and in the floodplain of the Ammer valley. They are determined by the internal structure of the floodplain sediments and their hydraulic properties.

General Approach of P3

In project P3, we combine hydrogeological and geophysical techniques to determine

We have installed an observation-well field for itensive monitoring campaigns and developed geophysical imaging techniques to elucidate the flow field and unravel subsurface heterogeneity.


Establishment of a Field Site in the Ammer Floodplain
Hydrogeological Investigation of the Ammer Floodplain
Direct-Push Color Logging to Detect Facies of High NOM in Floodplain Sediments
Geoelectrical Mapping to Detect Gravel Channels
Optimal Placement of Piezometers to Detect a Groundwater Divide
Adaptive Observation-Based Conceptual Site Modeling Framework