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Dr. Emanuel Kästle

DSC_4886 ekaestle

Department of Earth Sciences

Institute of Geological Sciences

Tectonics and Sedimentary Systems


Malteserstr. 74-100
Room B 243
12249 Berlin

Professional Career

since 03/2018

Post Doc, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany.
 Post Doc in the DFG SPP "Mountain building in 4-D" as assistant coordinator.


A.T.E.R., University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France. Temporary research and teaching assistant.


Ph.D. Student, ISTEP, University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.
 Surface-wave imaging of the crust and uppermost mantle under the Alps and surrounding regions. Publicly defended on the 19th of September 2017. Supervisors: Lapo Boschi, Claudio Rosenberg, Nicolas Bellahsen.


Master of Science, University of Potsdam, Germany. 
Masterstudy in Geophysics, Masterthesis at the GFZ Potsdam in the Geophysical Deep Sounding department: "Shaping the African Low Velocity Zone by S-travel time residuals". Masterthesis with mention "very good" (1.0).


Internship, Kandilli Earthquake Observatory, Istanbul, Turkey.
 Seven week internship in rapid calculations of moment tensor solutions in the earthquake observatory’s context.


Interchange student, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia. Interchange in the Master Program in Geophysics, funded by a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship.


Internship/Student worker, Geoforschungszentrum GFZ, Potsdam, Germany. Intern and later student worker at the Potsdam Geoscientific Research Institute (GFZ) in the seismological department.


Bachelor of Science, University of Potsdam, Germany.
 Bachelor in Geosciences, Bachelorthesis in Seismology “Der Aufbau der Lithosphäre unter Südafrika anhand von P- und S-Receiver-Funktionen“ (“Lithospheric structure beneath southern Africa from P- and S-Receiver-Functions“).

Research interests

  • Ambient noise methods
  • Alpine tectonics
  • Seismic tomography
  • Inversion methods
  • Monte Carlo and Bayesian inversions


Current research

Seismic tomography makes use of elastic waves that travel through the Earth to study its internal structures. In my research, I particularly concentrate on surface waves that are generated by microseisms in the oceans. These microseisms are caused by an interaction of ocean waves with the sea floor, creating constant vibrations that can be measured all around the globe. These signals create an ‘ambient noise’ wavefield. The term ‘noise’ indicates that in classical earthquake or explosion studies, these signals represented an unpleasant deterioration of the measurement quality. The ambient noise wavefield carries, however, also information on the underground structure which can be used in tomography. A dense network of seismic stations and a long recording time is necessary to extract this information (Fig. 1).



Figure 1: Map of the Alps and adjacent mountain belts. Main tectonic units and faults are shown. The triangles indicate station locations: green - only used in the ambient noise data set; blue - only used in the earthquake data set; red - used in both data sets. Tectonic boundaries from Faccena et al. (2014).


In the Alps, these conditions are provided by the different seismological services and research institutions of the neighboring European countries. The information from surface waves in the ambient noise wavefield is especially useful to study the Earth’s crustal structures. With this data, the collision of Europe and Adria can be seen as crustal thickening underneath the Alpine mountain belt, sedimentary basins in the foreland, or the indentation of the rigid Adriatic plate into Europe (Fig. 2).


Figure 2: Crustal shear-velocity model. Top: shear-velocity at different depth levels. Bottom: cross-sections through the crustal model. Black lines give iso-Vs levels. White dashed lines show the Moho of Spada et al. (2013). WA: Western Alps; PoB: Po basin; CA: Central Alps; Ap: Apennines; EA: Eastern Alps; Din: Dinarides; IB: Ivrea body. Published in Kästle et al. (2018).


Typically recorded ambient noise signals are most energetic in the period band around the microseismic peaks (~7 and 14s), meaning that they are especially sensitive to structures in the crust. In order to study also deeper layers, I used surface wave measurements from earthquakes, provided by the working group of the University of Kiel. The combination of these two data sets gives a more complete picture of the entire lithospheric shear velocity structure (Fig. 3).


Figure 3: Lithsopheric shear-velocity model. Mantle velocities are given as relative deviations from PREM (Dziewonski and Anderson, 1981). Top: shear-velocity deviations at different depth levels. Bottom: cross-sections through the lithospheric model. White lines give iso-Vs deviations. WA: Western Alps; PoB: Po basin; CA: Central Alps; Ap: Apennines; EA: Eastern Alps; Din: Dinarides. Published in Kästle et al. (2018).


The shown model can be downloaded on the personal web page of L. Boschi under “Tomography”. Click here!



Dziewonski, A. M. and Anderson, D. L. (1981). Preliminary reference earth model. Physics of the earth and planetary interiors, 25(4):297–356.

Faccenna, C., Becker, T. W., Auer, L., Billi, A., Boschi, L., Brun, J. P., Capitanio, F. A., Funiciello, F., Horvàth, F., Jolivet, L., et al. (2014). Mantle dynamics in the Mediterranean. Reviews of Geophysics, 52(3):283–332.

Kästle, E. D., El-Sharkawy, A., Boschi, L., Rosenberg, C., Bellahsen, N., Meier, T., Cristiano, L., and Weidle, C. (2017). Surface-wave tomography of the alps using ambient-noise and earthquake phase-velocity measurements. J of Geopys Res.

Spada, M., Bianchi, I., Kissling, E., Agostinetti, N. P., and Wiemer, S. (2013). Combining controlled-source seismology and receiver function information to derive 3-D Moho topography for Italy. Geophysical Journal International, 194(2):1050–1068.



Barone, I., Kästle, E., Strobbia, C. and Cassiani, G., 2020, Surface Wave Tomography using 3D active-source seismic data, In: Geophysics, 86, pp.1-53.

Kästle, E.D., Rosenberg, C., Boschi, L., Bellahsen, N., Meier, T., El-Sharkawy, A., 2020, Slab break‑offs in the Alpine subduction zone, In: International Journal of Earth Sciences, pp. 1-17.


Kästle, E.D., El-Sharkawy, A., Boschi, L., Meier, T., Rosenberg, C., Bellahsen, N., Cristiano, L., Weidle, C., 2018, Surface-wave tomography of the European Alps using Ambient-Noise and Earthquake phase-velocity measurements, In: Journal of Geophysical Research, 123(2), pp.1770-1792.


Kästle, E.D., Weber, M., Krüger, F., 2017, Complex deep structure of the African Low-Velocity Zone, In: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Jul 11.


Kästle, E.D., Soomro, R., Weemstra, C., Boschi, L. and Meier, T., 2016, Two-receiver measurements of phase velocity: cross-validation of ambient-noise and earthquake-based observations, In: Geophysical Journal International, 207(3), pp.1493-1512.


Sodoudi, F., Yuan, X., Kind, R., Lebedev, S., Adam, J.-M.-C., Kästle, E. D., et al., 2013, Seismic evidence for stratification in composition and anisotropic fabric within the thick lithosphere of Kalahari Craton, In: Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G3), 14(12), 5393-5412.


Vargas, C. A., Kästle, E. D., 2012, Does the sun trigger earthquakes?, In: Natural Science, Vol. 4, pp. 595-600.


Conference abstracts:


Kästle, E.D., 2020, New insight into the complex 3D subsurface structure under the Alps from the AlpArray experiment, keynote presentation, GeoUtrecht2020.


Kästle, E.D., Molinari, I., Boschi, L., Kissling, E., 2019, Ambient-noise tomography using the AlpArray seismic network – preliminary results. EGU 2019.


Kästle, E.D., Boschi, L., Rosenberg, C., Bellahsen, N., El-Sharkawy, A., El-Sharkawy, A., 2018, 3-D shear-velocity model of the Alps, Apennines and Dinarides, EGU 2018, solicited.

Kästle, E.D., 2018, Ambient noise tomography – Applications, 4D-MB workshop FU Berlin.


Kästle, E.D., El-Sharkawy, A., Boschi, L., Meier, T., Rosenberg, C., Bellahsen, N., 2017, 3D shear-velocity structure of the Alps from ambient-noise and earthquake surface-wave phase velocities, Cargese Summer School 2017


Kästle, E. D., Soomro, R. A., Boschi, L., El-Sharkawy, A., Meier, T. M., Rosenberg, C., Bellahsen, N., 2016, 3-D Surface-Wave Tomography of the European Alpine Lithosphere from Ambient-Noise and Earthquake Two-Station Measurements, AGU 2016.

Boschi, L., Kaestle, E.D., Soomro, R.A., Weemstra, C., Meier, T.M., 2016, Cross- Validation of Ambient-Noise and Earthquake-Based Observations of Love- and Rayleigh-wave dispersion, AGU 2016.

Kaestle, E. D., Boschi, L., Soomro, R., Meier, T., El-Sharkawy, A., Bellahsen, N., Rosenberg, C., 2016, Ambient-noise tomography of the Alpine lithosphere using Love and Rayleigh waves, AlpArray Surface Wave Group Meeting, Bologna, November 2016.


Kästle, E.D., Boschi, L., Bellahsen, N., Rosenberg, C., 2015, Shear-Velocity Imaging of the Alpine Lithosphere from Ambient Noise: Validation Against Earthquake Data, E. Argand conference, Alpine Workshop, Briançon, 2015.

Kaestle, E.D., Boschi, L., Meier, T., Soomro, R., Rosenberg, R., Bellahsen, N., 2015, Shear-Velocity Imaging of the Alpine Lithosphere from Ambient Noise: Validation Against Earthquake Data, EGU 2015.



Outstanding Reviewer Award 2019, Geophysical Journal International