Construction of a solid 3D model of geology in Sardinia using GIS methods

3D visualization of geological structures is a very efficient way to create a good understanding of geological features. It is not only an illustrative way for common people, but also a comprehensive method to interpret results of the work.

Geologists, geophysics engineers and GIS experts sometimes need to visualize an area to accomplish their researches. It can show how sample data are distributed over the area and therefore they can be applied as suitable approach to validate the result. Among different 3D modeling methods, some are expensive or complicated. Therefore, such a methodology enabling easy and cheap creation of a 3D construction is highly demanded.

However, several obstacles have been faced during the process of constructing a 3D model of geology. The main debate over suitable interpolation methods is the fact that 3D modelers may face discrepancies leading to different results even when they are working with the same set of data. Furthermore, most often part of data can be source of errors, themselves. Hence, it is extremely important to decide whether to omit those data or adopt another strategy.

However, even after considering all these points, still the work may not be accurate enough to be used for scientific researches if the interpretation of work is not done precisely. This research sought to explain an approach for 3D modeling of Sedini platform in Sardinia, Italy. GIS was used as a flexible software together with Surfer and Voxler. Data manipulation, geodatabase creation and interpolation test all have been done with aid of GIS. A variety of interpolation methods available in Surfer were used to opt suitable method together with Arc view.

A solid 3D model is created in Voxler environment. In Voxler, in contrary to many other 3D types of software there are four components needed to construct 3D. C value as 4th component except for XYZ coordinates was used to differentiate special features in platform and do gridding based on chosen value. With the aid of C value, one can mark layer of interest to identify it from other layers.

The final result shows a 3D solid model of the Sedini platform including both surfaces and subsurfaces. An Isosurface with its unique value (Isovalue) can mark layer of interest and make it easy to interpret the results. However, the errors in some parts of model are also noticeable. Since data acquisition was done for studying geology and mineralogy characteristics of the area, there is less number of data points collected per volume according to the main goals of the initial project. Moreover, in some parts of geological border lines, the density of sample points is not high enough to estimate accurate location of lines.

The study result can be applicable in a broad range of geological studies. Resource evaluation, geomorphology, structural geology and GIS are only a few examples of its application. The results of the study can be compared to the results of similar works where different softwares have been used so as to comprehend pros and cons of each as well as appropriate application of each software for a special task.
Source: University of Gävle
Author: Tavakoli, Saman

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