Geodetic Institute (GIK)

Black Forest Observatory (BFO)

The Black Forest Observatory (BFO) is an interdisciplinary and inter-university institution jointly operated by the Geodetic and Geophysical Institutes of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Geodetic Institute of the University of Stuttgart. The observatory is located near Schiltach/Black Forest in a disused ore mine. The up to 170 m thick rock cover and two air locks provide a thermally very stable measuring environment.



The main tasks of the BFO include the detection and analysis of deformations of the earth's body as well as temporal changes of the earth's gravitational and magnetic field. Thanks to an exceptionally high data quality, the BFO is one of the best stations in the global network of seismic stations (GSN). The interference-free measurement environment and the sensitivity of the measuring instruments enabled observations that are unique in the world and the discovery of new phenomena that have directly contributed to an improved understanding of the Earth's system. All data sets are published in near-real time via international data centers and are made available free of charge to scientific projects and the general public.


Equipment and services

The BFO is equipped with more than 30 sensors, including a superconducting gravimeter, STS-1 and STS-2 broadband seismometers, strain gauges, inclinometers and a permanent GNSS station. The measurement data are digitally collected and stored by several independent systems. Thus, the BFO has the necessary instrumentation to register deformation signals caused by long- and short-period seismic waves, tidal forces and environmental influences as well as the components of the earth's gravitational and magnetic field redundantly and with the highest possible precision. The observatory is integrated into various national and international observation networks. It offers optimal conditions for practical tests of newly developed geophysical measuring instruments (low-disturbance environment, comparative measurements of the highest quality), which are widely observed on an international level. Within the framework of research cooperations, guest scientists have the opportunity to work at the BFO for a certain period of time and to directly use the existing instrumental and scientific infrastructure. Students have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with geodynamic measurement techniques through field trips or an internship of several days at the BFO and to carry out bachelor, master and doctoral theses with BFO-relevant topics.


Further Information



Heubach 206


Telefon: ++49-7836-2151

FAX: ++49-7836-7650

Hansjörg Kutterer
Hansjörg Kutterer
Úniversity Professor, Speaker of the Institute Management Board

+49 721 608-43674hansjoerg kuttererLfb6∂kit edu11201.90 Campus Süd

Dr. Thomas Forbriger

BFO Manager

 +49 (0)7836 2151

thomas forbrigerBqi0∂kit edu

Ph. D. Rudolf Widmer-Schnidrig

Scientific Employee BFO

+49 (0)7836-2151

widmerJsg9∂gis uni-stuttgart de

Dr. Walter Zürn


Walter ZuernQbz3∂kit edu