April 13, 2022

Team Profile:
Wiebke Heise

photo credit:

1.     Why are you involved in geothermal/ supercritical research?

Ever since I came across an old Geography book that talked about the mid oceanic ridges as a teenager, I wanted to be an Earth scientist. Despite being discouraged by my parents (‘are you smart enough?’), I studied geophysics in Munich and Berlin and enjoyed a lot of fieldwork in South America during this time. During my PhD in Barcelona I was involved in studies of suture zones in southern Spain and volcanism on the Canary Islands. At GNS science, just after my PhD, I got started interpreting data from the Taupo Volcanic Zone and did my very first 3-D inversion model on the Rotokawa geothermal system. This was when I really got interested in geothermal. Now with the large dataset thatTed is modelling we get more spectacular results and see the intrusions associated with most systems, which is an important result of the new dense MT survey in the TVZ.

2.     What is the favourite part of your work?

It used to be fieldwork, but getting the first inversion results with new data or a new code or comparing the data to other geophysical methods is always very exciting, especially if the results match nicely which is the case more often than we expect (being pessimists). I also really enjoy discussions with colleagues at conferences, and lately also mentoring students.

3.     What is the publication you’re most proud of?

W. Heise, T.G. Caldwell, H. M. Bibby, S. C. Bannister: (2008) Three-dimensional modelling of magnetotelluric data from the Rotokawa geothermal field, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Geophysical Journal International, 173: 740–750,

What was the research finding?

This was the first 3-D inversion of a geothermal system, and the results are compared to a forward model which had been done before 3-D inversion was available. The models look similar and show the high temperature zone beneath the conductive clay cap.

Why is it important?

The 3-D interpretation magnetotelluric data of the Rotokawa geothermal system using different modelling methods gives a plausible model of the deeper structure. The structure of the resistivity models is consistent with a geological model based on hydrothermal alteration and temperatures. The most important feature of the 3-D resistivity models is a resistive zone beneath the conductive clay cap representing the high temperature core of the geothermal system.

4.     What is your favourite photo of you doing research?

Where are you?

In Chile 2007 at volcan Tolguaca.

What are you doing?

I’m measuring the contact resistances of the electrodes at the MT site together with my Chilean colleague Antonio.

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