Interior view

The rock laboratory comprises 700 m of galleries and niches. The horse-shoe shaped galleries are 4 to 5 m high and well-lit.

Interior view of the Mont Terri rock laboratory

Three-dimensional view of the rock laboratory
Three-dimensional view of the rock laboratory showing some of the almost 800 boreholes.

Access to the laboratory is via the safety gallery, which serves as a rescue shaft for the Mont Terri motorway tunnel. At a distance of ca. 1 km from the southern entrance we enter the Opalinus Clay Formation, Here it is very dry, whereas closer to the entrance there were puddles of water.

Site plan of the Mont Terri rock laboratory with the motorway tunnel and safety gallery
Chronological development of the laboratory: 1996 Construction of the initial niches, 1998 Construction of the first experiment gallery (Gallery 98), 2003 Construction of additional niches, 2004 Expansion (Gallery 04), 2008 Expansion (Gallery 08), 2012 Full-scale emplacement (FE niches)

Inside the laboratory we find ourselves in a spacious and well-lit tunnel with 4 to 5 m height. Along the ca. 700 m of tunnel there are almost 800 boreholes in the walls, floors, and ceilings. On the one hand, these boreholes enable scientists to insert measuring instruments directly into the intact rock with a 300-m overload. They can, to a certain extent, simulate conditions that will prevail in a geological repository at a depth between 500 and 700 m. On the other hand, they can extract rock samples from the boreholes that can then be studied in international laboratories and universities.

Borehole information system

A brief visual tour through the rock laboratory with the aid of the borehole information system. Additional information can be accessed at all borehole locations.