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The use of 3D geological models in the development of the conceptual groundwater model

[Die Anwendung geologischer 3D-Modelle bei der Entwicklung eines konzeptionellen Grundwassermodells]

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The conceptual groundwater model is heavily dependent on the geological framework which is used to define the aquifer being studied. In the past, two-dimensional datasets such as geological maps and cross-sections were used in coordination with site-specific point data to build a conceptual understanding at the site or catchment scale. This is then simplified and it is this simplified version which is used to build the framework for the numerical groundwater flow model. Due to the way the geological framework model and the conceptual groundwater model were generated they could not be viewed together; this inevitably led to a significant loss of information and understanding.With the current rapid developments in 3D modelling software and the increasing availability of digital geological data it is now possible to produce detailed 3D geological models of complex aquifer sequences. In this paper we will use two case studies (Chalk aquifer of the London Basin and the Jurassic limestone aquifer of the Cotswolds) to demonstrate that by developing a detailed 3D geological model significant benefits are gained in the understanding and development of the conceptual groundwater model.

Ein konzeptionelles Grundwassermodell ist in hohem Maß vom geologischen Rahmen abhängig, der zur Definition der untersuchten Grundwasserleiter verwendet wird. In der Vergangenheit wurden zweidimensionale Daten, wie geologische Karten und Profile, in Kombination mit ortsspezifischen Punktdaten herangezogen, um ein grundlegendes Verständnis im lokalen oder Einzugsgebiets-Maßstab zu erlangen. Eine vereinfachte Version dieser Vorstellungen bildet den Rahmen für das zu entwickelnde numerische Grundwasserfluss-Modell. Wegen der unterschiedlichen Art und Weise, wie der geologische Rahmen und das konzeptionelle Grundwassermodell generiert werden, lassen sich beide nicht gemeinsam betrachten; dies führt zwangsläufig zu einem wesentlichen Verlust an Information und Verständnis.

Mit der derzeitigen, rasanten Entwicklung von 3D-Modellierungs-Software und der zunehmenden Verfügbarkeit digitaler geologischer Daten ist es heute möglich, detaillierte geologische 3D-Modelle komplexer Grundwasserleiter zu erstellen. In diesem Artikel zeigen wir anhand zweier Fallstudien (Aquifer der Chalk-Gruppe des Londoner Beckens, Jura-Kalkstein-Aquifer der Cotswolds), dass sich durch die Entwicklung detaillierter geologischer 3D-Modelle signifikante Vorteile im Verständnis und in der Entwicklung konzeptioneller Grundwassermodelle erzielen lassen.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/1860-1804/2010/0161-0237

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften (ZDGG) is an international peer reviewed journal that accepts papers on research and applied topics in the Earth Sciences. It is published online and in print. One volume, consisting of four issues is published annually. The journal is continously published by German Society of Geosciences (DGG) since its foundation in 1848. It was relaunched in 2005.

    ZDGG invites the submission of English, German and French language papers from all fields of geology, hydrogeology, paleontology, tectonics, sedimentology, engineering geology and of course environmental geology to name a few. The editors of ZDGG also invite suggestions for thematic issues.
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