Eiger muon glacier tomography

The new interdisciplinary project "Eiger-µ GT (Eiger muon glacier tomography)" has been launched recently. It is a collaboration between the Laboratory for High-Energy Physics (LHEP) and the Institute of Geological Sciences (GEO), University of Bern, aiming to "see" inside glaciers of the Swiss Alps using cosmic-ray muons. Thesse are are most abundant charged particles in cosmic rays and can penetrate several kilometers of rock. The project will rely on this high penetration power to investigate the thickness of the glacier in way similar to medical X-ray radiographies in hospitals.

Zahlen und Formeln (Symbolbild)
Bild: denisismagilov, stock.adobe.com

The first target is the Eiger glacier, which straddles at the western flank of the famous Eiger mountain. Several small detectors, made of higly sensitive emulsion films with a micrometer resolution, were installed at several locations inside the Jungfrau railway tunnel in December 2015. The detectors will sit in the tunnel until the end of March 2016, when they will be recovered and read out using the scanning microscopes at LHEP Bern. The reconstruction of the arrival direction of the muons, using their tracks in the emulsion films, will allow the reconstruction of the material between the detector and the mountain surface, which is important to answer several geological questions.


  • Elementarteilchen
  • Elementarteilchenphysik
  • Gebirgsgletscher
  • Geologie