OR/18/003 Model limitations
|Shelley, C, and Burke, H. 2018. Model metadata report for the South Downs teaching model. British Geological Survey Open Report, OR/18/003.|
Model specific limitations
The South Downs teaching model shows only the bedrock geology of the region. It matches the corresponding 1:250 000 scale geological map data and is therefore suitable for use on a regional scale, not site-specific scale. The model is intended for educational and demonstration purposes.
The southern edge of the model extends offshore along the south coast of England where the elevation values in the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) are at sea level. In these offshore areas the geological units are modelled up to sea level rather than the sea floor.
General modelling limitations
- Geological interpretations are made according to the prevailing understanding of the geology at the time. The quality of such interpretations may be affected by the availability of new data, by subsequent advances in geological knowledge, improved methods of interpretation, improved databases and modelling software, and better access to sampling locations. Therefore, geological modelling is an empirical approach.
- It is important to note that this 3D geological model represents an individual interpretation of the data available; other interpretations may be valid. The full complexity of the geology may not be represented by the model due to the spatial distribution of the data at the time of model construction and other limitations including those set out elsewhere in this report.
- Best endeavours (detailed quality checking procedures) are employed to minimise data entry errors but given the diversity and volume of data used, it is anticipated that occasional erroneous entries will still be present (e.g. boreholes locations, elevations etc.) Any raw data considered when building geological models may have been transcribed from analogue to digital format. Such processes are subjected to quality control to ensure reliability; however, undetected errors may exist. Borehole locations are obtained from borehole records or site plans.
- Digital elevation models (DEMs) are sourced externally by BGS and are used to cap geological models. DEMs may have been processed to remove surface features including vegetation and buildings. However, some surface features or artefacts may remain, particularly those associated with hillside forests. The digital terrain model may be sub-sampled to reduce its resolution and file size; therefore, some topographical detail may be lost.
- Geological units of any formal rank may be modelled. Lithostratigraphical (sedimentary/metasedimentary) units are typically modelled at Group, Formation or Member level, but Supergroup, Subgroup or Bed may be used. Where appropriate, generic (e.g. alluvium — ALV), composite (e.g. West Walton Formation and Ampthill Clay Formation, undifferentiated — WWAC) or exceptionally informal units may also be used in the model, for example where no equivalent is shown on the surface geological map. Formal lithodemic igneous units may be named Intrusions or Dykes or may take the name of their parent (Pluton or Swarm/Centre or Cluster/Subsuite/Suite), or if mixed units Complex may be used. Highly deformed terranes may use a combined scheme with additional rank terms. Artificially Modified Ground units (e.g. Made Ground (undivided) — MGR, Landscaped Ground (undivided) — LSGR) are currently regarded as informal.
- The geological map linework in the model files may be modified during the modelling process to remove detail or modify the interpretation where new data is available. Hence, in some cases, faults or geological units that are shown in the BGS approved digital geological map data (DiGMapGB) may not appear in the geological model or vice versa. Modelled units may be coloured differently to the equivalent units in the published geological maps.
- Borehole start heights are obtained from the original records, Ordnance Survey mapping or a digital terrain model. Where borehole start heights look unreasonable, they are checked and amended if necessary in the index file. In some cases, the borehole start height may be different from the ground surface, if for example, the ground surface has been raised or lowered since the borehole was drilled, or if the borehole was not originally drilled at the ground surface.
- Borehole coding (including observations and interpretations) was captured in a corporate database before the commencement of modelling and any lithostratigraphic interpretations may have been re-interpreted in the context of other evidence during cross-section drawing and modelling, resulting in a mismatch between BGS databases and modelled interpretations.