The westernmost part of the Czech Republic and adjacent area in Germany is known for the geodynamic activity represented by earthquake swarms and large-scale degassing of CO2 fluids. The region is also characterized by numerous mineral springs, Tertiary/Quaternary volcanism and neotectonic crustal movements, located at the intersection of two major intraplate fault zones, the Eger Rift and the Marianske Lazne Fault. It is likely that all these phenomena are related to a common origin. Geodynamic activity, fluids and earthquake swarms represent a unique phenomenon worldwide. Currently, it is well accepted that many earthquake swarms are driven by fluids in the crust. However, it is still unknown how fluids are driving the persistent earthquake activity. Long-term monitoring is essential to understand these phenomena and their interactions and answer these questions.

Epicentres of earthquakes from 1991-2015 (red circles), CO2 emanations (blue circles) and mofettes (violet squares). Triangle marks the NovĂ˝ Kostel NK focal zone; Quaternary volcanoes indicated.

Laboratory in situ to study fluid driven earthquakes and deep biosphere

Perspective 3D view of the earthquake swarm region in West Bohemia/Vogtland. Hypocentres are indicated by filled colour circles. Topography is indicated as coloured map and ranges between 400 and 800 m. CO2 mofettes at the surface indicated, black to grey circles indicate 3He/4He ratios between 6 Ra and 0, respectively. Tectonics and known Quaternary volcanoes are indicated.

Open questions
  • Where, at which depth and stresses are the magmatic reservoirs and heat anomalies?

  • What controls the pathways of magmatic fluids through the crust and how do they look?

  • Are there spatial and temporal correlations between deep magmatic processes, earthquake swarms and changes in fluid degassing and microbial diversity?

  • What are the physical and chemical processes leading to earthquake activity and fluid mobility?

  • Which and how do the geological processes influence the deep biosphere and can microbes be used to reveal the history of paleo CO2 flux in maars?

Getting answers
  • Develop modern, comprehensive laboratory in situ with high detection capability

  • Study earthquake swarms, CO2 degassing and deep biosphere and their interactions

  • Understand fluid and magma migration, and fluid-rock interactions through the crust

  • Map structural heterogeneities in the swarm region

The project involves scientists from Germany, Czech Republic, United Kingdom and the USA.
Contact: T. Dahm (dahm{at}, T. Fischer (tomfis{at}