Journal of Seismology

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 105–122 | Cite as

Influence of wind turbines on seismic stations in the upper rhine graben, SW Germany

  • Toni ZiegerEmail author
  • Joachim R. R. Ritter


By analysing long- and short-term seismological measurements at wind farms close to the town of Landau, SW Germany, we present new insights into ground motion signals from wind turbines (WTs) at local seismic stations. Because of their need to be located in similar regions with sparsely anthropogenic activities, wind turbines impact seismic stations and their recordings in a way that is not yet fully understood by researchers. To ensure the undisturbed recording tasks of a regional seismic array or a single station by a protected area around those endangered stations, it is very important to investigate the behavior of WTs as a seismic source. For that reason, we calculate averaged one-hour long spectra of the power spectral density (PSD) before and after the installation of a new wind farm within the investigated area. These PSD are ordered according to the rotation speed. We observe a clear increase of the PSD level after the WT installation in a frequency range of 0.5 to 10 Hz up to a distance of 5.5 km away from the WT. By analysing seismic borehole data, we also observe a decrease of the PSD of wind dependent signals with depth. The impact of wind-dependent signals is found to be much more pronounced for the shallower station (150 m depth) than for the deeper one (305 m depth). Using short-term profile measurements, we fit a power-law decay proportional to 1/r b to the main WT-induced PSD peaks and differentiate between near-field and far-field effects of ground motions. For low frequencies in the range from 1 to 4 Hz, we determine a b value of 0.78 to 0.85 for the far field, which is consistent with surface waves. The b value increases (up to 1.59) with increasing frequencies (up to 5.5 Hz), which is obviously due to attenuating effects like scattering or anelasticity. These results give a better understanding of the seismic wavefield interactions between wind turbines (or wind farms) with nearby seismic stations, including borehole installations, in a sedimentary setting.


Seismology Seismic noise Wind turbines Spectral analysis Attenuation 



The project “TremAc” is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany. Awarding authority: The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy based on a resolution of the German Bundestag. Seismic data were provided by “Erdbebendienst Südwest”, “Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources” and “Karlsruher Broadband Array (KABBA)”. We would like to thank “pfalzwind GmbH (Ludwigshafen/Germany)” for the provision of data and their support of this work. We would like to thank Werner Scherer for help with technical work, as well as installation and service of seismic stations; Mohsen Koshesh for calibrating the instruments; Rainer Plokarz for helping with data handling and Petra Knopf for solving IT-problems. We also thank the two anonymus reviewers and the editor for their helpful and constructive suggestions and comments.


  1. Baisch S, Vörös R (2010) Reservoir induced seismicity: where, when, why and how strong?. In: Proceedings of world geothermal congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25 - 29 AprilGoogle Scholar
  2. Baisch S, Fritschen R, Groos J, Kraft T, Plenefisch T, Plenkers K, Ritter J, Wassermann J (2012) Empfehlungen zur Überwachung induzierter Seismizität - Positionspapier des FKPE e.V. Mitteil Deut Geophys Gesell 3(2012):17–31Google Scholar
  3. Flores Estrella H, Korn M, Alberts K (2017) Analysis of the influence of wind turbine noise on seismic recordings at two wind parks in Germany. J Geosci Environ Protection 5:76–91. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Groos J, Ritter JRR (2010) Seismic noise: a challenge and opportunity for seismological monitoring in densely populated areas. Cahiers du Centre Européen de Géodynamique et de Séismologie 30:87–97Google Scholar
  5. Lott F, Ritter JRR, Al-Qaryouti M, Corsmeier U (2017) On the analysis of wind-induced noise in seismological recordings. Pure and Applied Geophysics.
  6. Ritter JRR, Wagner M, Wawerzinek B, Wenzel F (2008) Aims and first results of the TIMO Project - Tiefenstruktur des mittleren Oberrheingrabens. Geotect Res 95:151–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Saccorotti G, Piccinini D, Cauchie L, Fiori I (2011) Seismic noise by wind farms: a case study from the Virgo gravitational wave observatory, Italy. Bull Seismol Soc Am 101(2):558–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Sato H, Fehler MC, Maeda T (2012) Seismic wave propagation and scattering in the heterogeneous earth, 2nd edn. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Schofield R (2001) Seismic Measurements at the Stateline Wind Project. Rept No LIGO T020104-00-/, Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory available at pp
  10. Stammler K, Ceranna L (2016) Influence of wind turbines on seismic records of the Gräfenberg array. Seismol Res Lett 87(5):1075–1081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Styles P, England R, Stimpson IG, Toon SM, Bowers D, Hayes M (2005) Microseismic and infrasound monitoring of low frequency noise and vibrations from windfarms: recommendations on the siting of windfarms in the vicinity of Eskdalemuir. Rept To MOD/FTI/BWEA, Scotland, p 125. Google Scholar
  12. Vasterling M, Wegler U, Bruestle A, Becker J (2016) Real time monitoring of induced seismicity in the Insheim and Landau deep geothermal reservoirs, Upper Rhine Graben, using the new Seiscomp3 cross-correlation detector. Geophysical Research Abstracts 18:EGU2016–3007Google Scholar
  13. Westwood RF, Styles P (2017) Assessing the seismic wavefield of a wind turbine using polarization analysis. Wind Energy.
  14. Widmer-Schnidrig R, Forbriger T, Zürn W (2004) Windkraftanlagen als seismische Störquellen. 64 Jahrestagung der Deutschen Geophysikalischen Gesellschaft, Berlin p 541Google Scholar
  15. Withers M, Aster R, Young C, Chael E (1996) High-frequency analysis of seismic background noise as a function of wind speed and shallow depth. Bull Seismol Soc Am 86(5):1507–1515Google Scholar
  16. Xi Engineering Cosultants Ltd (2014) Seismic vibration produced by wind turbines in the Eskdalemuir regionGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Geophysical Institute (GPI)KarlsruheGermany

Personalised recommendations