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Bedretto Underground Laboratory for Geosciences and Geoenergies

The BedrettoLab (Bedretto Underground Laboratory for Geosciences and Geoenergies) is a unique research infrastructure run by ETH Zurich making it possible to take a close look at the Earth’s interior. It is located in the Swiss Alps 1.5 kilometres below the surface and in the middle of a 5.2 kilometres long tunnel connecting the Ticino with the Furka railway tunnel.

Equipped with the latest technology, the BedrettoLab offers ideal conditions to conduct experimental research focusing on the behaviour of the deep underground when accessing and stimulating it. Such an access is required to advance scientific knowledge in various domains including geothermal energy and earthquake physics. It is also of relevance to develop novel techniques and sensors for these purposes.

Learn more about the scope of the project.



New paper

Structural evolution, exhumation rates, and rheology of the European crust during Alpine collision

The structural geology group recently published a paper on their research conducted in the BedrettoLab and its surrounding mountain massif. By combining field analysis with microstructural, chemical, and geochronological methods, they clarified the geological age and structural evolution of the area.

The granite features four main classes of deformation structures, indicating a sequence of brittle and ductile shear zones. These findings are crucial for ongoing and future projects at BedrettoLab, as they show that the structural framework of the Rotondo granite is primarily defined by old brittle faults and fractures, rather than just ductile shear zones. Understanding this complex deformation history provides important insights for our research and projects targeting fault zone reactivation.

Link to paper:

Ceccato, A., Behr, W. M., Zappone, A. S., Tavazzani, L., & Giuliani, A. (2024). Structural evolution, exhumation rates, and rheology of the European crust during Alpine collision: Constraints from the Rotondo granite—Gotthard nappe. Tectonics, 43, e2023TC008219. https://doi.org/10.1029/2023TC008219


Guided tours of the BedrettoLab available to the public from summer 2024

In partnership with the Sasso San Gottardo Museum, ETH Zurich will be offering guided tours of the BedrettoLab to the public from summer 2024. These tours, which will be available on three Saturdays, will be laid on in German and Italian.

Up to now there have only been occasional opportunities for the public to visit this unique research infrastructure. However, that is about to change thanks to a partnership with the nearby Sasso San Gottardo Museum, meaning that members of the public can tour the BedrettoLab on the following dates this year:

  • Saturday 20 July 2024
  • Saturday 3 August 2024
  • Saturday 28 September 2024
  • tours start at each date: 11 a.m., 12 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

On each of these days we will be offering four guided tours in German and four in Italian. Those interested in taking part can check the time slots for each language online. Tours can be booked now on the Sasso San Gottardo Museum's website (www.sasso-sangottardo.ch/bedrettolab) at a price of CHF 25 per person.

What does a tour involve?

It will consist of a walking tour lasting around two hours and covering a distance of about 4.5 kilometres. This means that it is only suitable for individuals who will have no trouble navigating their way across uneven terrain for this length of time. Geology and research are brought together in the BedrettoLab: the Sasso San Gottardo Museum's guides will lead visitors through the unclad rock tunnel holding the BedrettoLab, while pointing out and explaining various geological phenomena that would be difficult to spot otherwise. Visitors can also take in the BedrettoLab's geothermal test environment, giving them an insight into the ongoing research work at ETH Zurich.

Direct link for ticket sales: www.sasso-sangottardo.ch/bedrettolab

More information about the guided tours is available here: www.bedrettolab.ethz.ch/en/about/visit

Alle Infos auf Deutsch: www.bedrettolab.ethz.ch/en/about/visit/public-visits-info-DE/


Virtual Tour

Click on play and get a deep insight into the BedrettoLab.

Geo-INQUIRE call #2

The EU Project Geo-INQUIRE (Geosphere INfrastructures for QUestions into Integrated REsearch) fosters excellent, interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven research of the solid Earth, including land-sea-atmosphere interfaces. An objective of project Geo-INQUIRE is to provide transnational access to unique high-level installations and experiments to selected users to perform research. The BedrettoLab and its three testbeds (Geothermal Testbed, Earthquake Physics Testbed and the Deep Life Observatory) are made available to the research community through the 2nd Open Call for projects, open between May 22nd and July 11th. For further information and to apply please visit the Geo-INQUIRE website.


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