OR/14/072 3D geological modelling in Europe

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Kessler, H, and Dearden, R. 2014. Scoping study for a Pan-European geological data infrastructure: D 3.4: technical requirements for serving 3D geological models. British Geological Survey, OR/14/072.
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Systematic three-dimensional geological modelling in Europe began in the mid-90s. Since then expertise and methodologies have become sufficiently mature that a more systematic approach to modelling has become possible in some countries.

Notable projects and national modelling programmes include:

  • The Geological Survey of the Netherlands (part of TNO http://www.en.geologicalsurvey.nl/) was the first European geological survey to create a national geological framework model, completed in the late 90s. Since then the TNO has moved systematically across the country producing a 3D property model of the shallow subsurface. The history and future of geological modelling at the Geological Survey of the Netherlands is documented by van der Meulen et al (2013)[1].
  • The GeoMol project (http://geomol.eu/home/index_html) is a transnational project to model the Alpine Foreland Basins for sustainable planning and use of natural resources. A major challenge for this project is the harmonisation of seismic interpretation methodologies, the agreement on common nomenclature, the sharing of models and data across borders as well as the delivery of models to make them useable. The project is managed by LfU (Bavarian Geological Survey) and has the following member countries:
  • Amt der Oberösterreichischen Landesregierung (LandOö)
  • Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt (LfU)
  • Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM)
  • Geologische Bundesanstalt Österreich (GBA)
  • Geološki zavod Slovenije (GeoZS)
  • Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA)
  • Landesamt für Geologie, Rohstoffe und Bergbau Baden-Württemberg (LGRB)
  • Regionalverband Bodensee-Oberschwaben (RVBO)
  • Regione Emilia-Romagna, Servizio Geologico, Sismico e dei Suoli (RER-SGSS)
  • Regione Lombardia–Direzione Generale Territorio e Urbanistica (RLB)
  • Republique et Canton de Genève, Office de l’environnement (DSPE)
  • Schweizerisches Bundesamt für Energie (BfE)
  • Schweizerisches Bundesamt für Landestopografie (swisstopo)
  • Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg (TU BAF)

A summary of the GeoMo project has been published by Gerold Diepolder (http://geomol.eu/home/technique/pdf_pool/Diepolder_GeoMol_Abstract_pag.pdf?lang=2).

As shown above, the extent to which surveys have modelled the landmass is highly variable. Figure 1 indicates the scale of modelling being undertaken by organisations who responded to the survey in Europe. Almost all surveys questioned are undertaking regional-scale modelling, whilst some also focus on the local scale. Modelling at the national or multi-national scale is less common. Indeed, the multinational scale modelling in Figure 1 is the result of one project (GeoMol).

Figure 1    Coverage of modelling in 21 surveys questioned.


  1. Van der Meulen, M, et al (2013) 3D geology in a 2D country: perspectives for geological surveying in the Netherlands. Netherlands Journal of Geosciencees — Geologie en Mijnbouw, 92(4), 217–241.
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