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AAPG Bulletin, V.
3-D modeling of geologic maps from surface data
1Formation de Recherche en Evolution 2639–Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique: Imagerie Gophysique, CURS-IPRA, Universit de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, Avenue de l'Universit, Pau Cedex, France; [email protected]
2Dynamic Graphics Inc., 1015 Atlantic Avenue, Alameda, California, 94501-1154
3Unit Mixte de Recherche 7072–Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique: Laboratoire de Tectonique, case 129, Universit Paris 6, 4 place Jussieu 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
Recent discoveries in earth sciences are mostly related to technologies allowing graphical representations of volumes. We present a way to produce mathematically and geometrically correct three-dimensional (3-D) geologic maps consisting of the volume and shape of all geologic features of a given area. The method is innovative in that it only uses surface information based on the combination of a standard geologic map, a satellite image, and a digital elevation model. It is based on a modeling algorithm that only uses surfaces calculated from scattered data points and that intersects them following a series of geologically sound rules. The major advantage of using such technology is that it provides the user with a way to quantify geology. To illustrate how a 3-D geologic map can be computed, we explain the steps taken to build a dummy model with simple faulting and depositional sequencing. The case study chosen to illustrate the method is the Beirut watershed (Lebanon), an area with relatively simple geology. The 3-D visualization and cross sections help in the understanding of the geometrical relationship between the different geologic features, allowing a reexamination of the tectonic history of the area during the late Mesozoic.
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