Three-Dimensional Geological Mapping

image of 3D model

There is an increasingly pressing need for high-quality 3-D geological information about shallow deposits as attention to environmental and land-use issues grow, particularly in urban and suburban areas. Attention is also turning to the study of regional groundwater systems and to their long-term sustainable development. Although technological capability is accelerating even as these demands for information are becoming increasingly more compelling, there is a continuing lack of high-quality data. This situation is particularly true in the densely populated and industrialized parts of the United States, Canada, and Europe, which are covered by thick glacial deposits. The ongoing challenge of this complex geology produces a sustained and urgent need for developing optimal mapping and modeling methods. We must therefore ensure good communication among mappers who are (1) experimenting with new ways to deal with large data sets, (2) developing ways of integrating data of variable quality with high-quality test holes and geophysics, and (3) developing methods to construct 3-D geological models of appropriate detail that can be used for land and water applications, such as hydrogeologic modeling.

Six workshops on geological mapping for groundwater applications have addressed this need. The first workshop was held at the 2001 North-Central GSA meeting in Normal, Illinois. The second workshop was held prior to the annual 2002 GSA meeting in Denver, Colorado. The Illinois State Geological Survey and the Geological Survey of Canada chaired and sponsored both events. The third workshop was held at the annual 2004 Geological Association of Canada/Mineralogical Association of Canada meeting in St. Catharines, Ontario. The fourth workshop was held at the 2005 GSA Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. The fifth workshop was held at the 2007 GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. The sixth workshop was held at the 2009 GSA Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. The seventh workshop was held at the 2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The last five workshops were sponsored and chaired by the Illinois State Geological Survey, the Geological Survey of Canada, and the Minnesota Geological Survey. All workshops have provided opportunities for geologists to share information on methods for constructing, visualizing, and delivering to the public 3-D geological maps intended for groundwater and other applications.

Papers, abstracts, and most PowerPoint presentations from past workshops can be found by clicking on the top menu.



Illinois State Geological Survey      
Canada Geological Survey      
Minnesota Geological Survey