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An interactive voxel model for mineral resources: loess deposits in Flanders (Belgium)

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As Belgian loess deposits are of great importance for ceramic industry in Belgium, a well-balanced resource management of this material is essential for maintaining its long-term exploitability. A primary requirement for such a management programme is a thorough understanding of the spatial distribution and thickness of the loess deposits in Flanders. Such 3D information can efficiently be captured in a so called "voxel model". This paper describes a simple three-step voxel modelling procedure developed by VITO. This procedure effectively translates more than 8700 boreholes into a voxel model consisting of cells of 25 × 25 × 0.5 m, each of which is assigned a lithological class. The primary aim of the developed model is to provide geological insight for regional pre-prospective purposes and spatial planning within the region covered by loess deposits. A deterministic and cognitive modelling process was adopted, which was the result after weighting factors like quality, quantity and distribution of the available data, time and budget given for the modelling process and the eventual model's use. In addition, this paper outlines the set-up of the "mineral resource explorer" launched by the government of Flanders. This platform was developed with the aim of efficiently distributing the information present in the voxel model to the wider public. This explorer interactively allows end-users to query the dataset and hence obtain information on the presence of potential extractable loess material. Users are able to set a number of relevant built-in preconditions, such as maximum thickness of cover and minimal thickness of resource deposits, and indicative resource volumes can be calculated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

This article was made available online on December 14, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "An interactive voxel model for mineral resources: loess deposits in Flanders (Belgium)".

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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 has been published by the German Geological Society 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.

    Please note that ZDGG issues from Volume 170 are now available from the publisher's website at
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