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GEOHORIZONS AUTHORS
Damien Dhont  Formation de Recherche
3-D modeling of geologic en Evolution 2639 –Centre National de la
Recherche Scientifique: Imagerie Géophysique,
CURS-IPRA, Université de Pau et des Pays de
maps from surface data l’Adour, Avenue de l’Université, Pau Cedex,
France; damien.dhont@univ-pau.fr
Damien Dhont, Pascal Luxey, and Jean Chorowicz Damien Dhont is an assistant professor of
structural geology and remote sensing at
the University of Pau. He received his Ph.D.
in 1999 from Paris 6 University. His research
ABSTRACT interests include the structure of thrust and
Recent discoveries in earth sciences are mostly related to tech- fold belts, the extensional collapse of orogens,
and the study of the relationships between
nologies allowing graphical representations of volumes. We pres-
tectonics and volcanism. His main studied
ent a way to produce mathematically and geometrically correct
areas correspond to recent orogenic belts
three-dimensional (3-D) geologic maps consisting of the volume and plateaus of the Middle East and South
and shape of all geologic features of a given area. The method is America.
innovative in that it only uses surface information based on the
combination of a standard geologic map, a satellite image, and a Pascal Luxey  Dynamic Graphics Inc.,
digital elevation model. It is based on a modeling algorithm that 1015 Atlantic Avenue, Alameda, California,
only uses surfaces calculated from scattered data points and that 94501-1154
intersects them following a series of geologically sound rules. The Pascal Luxey received his Ph.D. in 1995 from
major advantage of using such technology is that it provides the Paris 6 University (France). He was then granted
user with a way to quantify geology. To illustrate how a 3-D funds to study at the Southampton Oceanog-
geologic map can be computed, we explain the steps taken to build raphy Center (United Kingdom) the interactions
between the Icelandic hot spot and the Mid-
a dummy model with simple faulting and depositional sequencing.
Atlantic Ridge between 1995 and 1998. For the
The case study chosen to illustrate the method is the Beirut
last 7 years, he has been a geological appli-
watershed (Lebanon), an area with relatively simple geology. The
cation specialist for Dynamic Graphics Inc.
3-D visualization and cross sections help in the understanding of
the geometrical relationship between the different geologic fea- Jean Chorowicz  Unité Mixte de Recherche
tures, allowing a reexamination of the tectonic history of the area 7072–Centre National de la Recherche Scienti-
during the late Mesozoic. fique: Laboratoire de Tectonique, case 129,
Université Paris 6, 4 place Jussieu 75252 Paris
Cedex 05, France
INTRODUCTION Jean Chorowicz is a professor of tectonics,
remote sensing sciences, and their applications
Modern geology requires accurate representation of layer volumes. at Paris 6 University. Formerly a field geolo-
Three-dimensional (3-D) geologic models are increasingly the best gist in Yugoslavia, he has concentrated on the
development of remote sensing in geology
method to constrain geology at depth. Until now, geologic volume
since 1972. He keeps a constant research
modeling has been based on the interpretation of expensive two-
activity on orogenic belts, especially in the
dimensional (2-D) and 3-D seismic surveys and/or well-log data. peri-Mediterranean region. He has studied rifts
Hence, it has been typically used by the oil industry for explo- and basins, transform faults, and relationships
ration and production. between tectonics and volcanism.

Copyright #2005. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.
Manuscript received October 12, 2004; provisional acceptance January 12, 2005; revised manuscript
received June 6, 2005; final acceptance June 27, 2005.
DOI:10.1306/06270504108

AAPG Bulletin, v. 89, no. 11 (November 2005), pp. 1465 –1474 1465

STATE OF THE ART The concept of a volumetric or 3-D geologic map needs to be clarified because it is commonly misused..and y-axes.y) containing elements corresponding to an isochron (t). 2004). but the elevation (z) is not considered. Hence. Digitizing geologic boundaries on a map creates a 2-D matrix (x. Such technology allows a better representation of the geology.. 2000). striking mainly northeast and east-southeast (Freund et al. etc). 3-D reconstructions of geologic surfaces by integrating geologic The article benefited from constructive and mapping and field data. Here. 1998). Our aim is to present a 3-D geologic map that gives quan- titative data not only at the surface (i. Because a 2-D topographic map represents the variation of (z) along the x. geologic features such as lithologic boundaries or faults rep- resent four variables: the spatial coordinates (x. 1970). On a standard paper geologic map. Fernandez et al. The area is located on the western side of the Lebanon ridge and is underlain by Late Jurassic to early Cenozoic interbedded sandstone and fissure-karstic limestone that are cut by volcanic intrusions. which can be used to supple- versity in Lebanon and the University of Pau ment field mapping (Banerjee and Mitra. Bilotti et al. is dated to at least early Mio- cene ( Walley. Fernandez et al.z). remote sensing data. Search Index Search Results November Contents Quantitative structural analysis related to surface geologic map- ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ping has been obtained using stereoscopic remote sensing imagery This study has been made in the frame of the (Berger et al. This peculiar shape. and a digital elevation model (DEM). The method is applied to the Beirut watershed (Lebanon). the geologic map corresponds to a planar view (2-D) representing four-dimensional variables.e. This project has been funded by the ticle. Displays of 1466 Geohorizons . (2004) presented a methodology to generate Research Council of Saint-Joseph University. (2004) present a good review of the different methods developed for the generation of 3-D reconstructions. Near the coast. with small amounts of throw. In a recent ar- in France. depositional event.. All layers are offset by subvertical faults. It allows the calculation collaboration between the Saint-Joseph Uni. they abruptly dip west. a flying-carpetlike view of a DEM remains a 2-D object despite the fact that it is seen in 3-D. bed strikes and dips) but also at depth. called the western Lebanon flexure. expressed on the topographic map. we go further in that we present a thorough reviews by Jim Granath. 1992. way to generate efficient and accurate representations of geologic and an anonymous referee. of the strike and dip of bedding.. which is characterized by well-exposed and well-mapped structures (Figure 1). and another variable that represents what- ever criteria are used by the geologist to differentiate geologic units (time. facies. The map then provides the opportunity to describe the geometry of the geologic structures through different graphical representations. Draping the scanned geo- logic map onto a DEM is a way to account for the missing variable (z). The English has structure volumes at depth using existing and inexpensive data been improved thanks to careful corrections sets. This approach is innovative in that it is based only on surface of Carol Man. Sandro Serra. East of the watershed. the strata are almost flat.y. information from published geologic maps.

and structures seen as actual volumes following a 3-D Dhont et al. 1975. 1955. as would be the case for a 3-D information as a true 3-D geologic map should. Simplified geologic map of Lebanon and location of the studied area (dark frame) (modified from Dubertret. 1998). This tool. do not produce a clear image this still cannot provide any volumetric underground of the subsurface. only allows the manipulation of 2-D maps. map. which. but when superimposed. in Walley. how- called 3-D geologic maps. allowed more information to be gathered on maps. The advent of geographic information systems A 3-D map is the representation of geologic units (GIS) represented a major step forward in the reali. 1467 . scanned geologic maps draped onto DEMs in rotating zation of maps by providing the ability to include perspective views have therefore been misleadingly and superimpose several data types. Search Index Search Results November Contents Figure 1. Such representations have ever.

we first digitized the topographic con- Our new technique takes full advantage of a tours from the geologic map. captured from the input data DEM elevation at the (x. eventually by the fault tings could only be modeled. the top of the yellow layer. i. the three different surface groups: the model limits.y) locations of the points set can be rendered with accuracy in the 3-D map. leads to errors and mis. and the corresponding 2-D grid is shown in (c). A back-interpolation onto the DEM is applied to define an elevation to each digitized contour represented by yellow. red.e. nearly vertical fault. jection onto the DEM in what is called a ‘‘back- The slightest geologic detail. bottom. The black crosses show the points digitized for each geologic feature: the layer tops and the fault trace. intersections between faults and rizon is represented in solid color in one fault block horizons had to be designed grid node by grid node. Search Index Search Results November Contents matrix (x. and the fault Other packages simply cannot render reverse faults or surface. purpose of such studies. The originality of this approach to digital To illustrate the modeling technique. the fault surface. and the DEM. Although such maps can be constructed from 2-D and/or 3-D seismic MODELING TECHNIQUE surveys. the fault hierarchy was simply too complex to define in 3-D. The forming the digitized contours. Steps used to extrapolate a 2-D geologic map into a 3-D map. fault verticalization is the 2-D grids following geologic rules and to generate only option. The rendering of such models as volumet. nearly vertical fault. we built a mapping is that a true 3-D map is built only from simplistic dummy model based on a geologic map surface data extrapolated to depth. Its volume is limited by making the study of complex faulting impossible. A true 3-D map (Figure 2a). The fault splits the model into two fault blocks. its interpretations. A geologic unit vol. The resulting model (f ) shows the relationships between the layers and the DEM because this latter surface has been used as an erosion to truncate all underlying volumes.y. The red ho- and this technique. Before using this package out the fault block volume (Figure 2d). predict the position of each geologic feature through- date the model very easily..e. or drastic simplifications surfaces when present and by the base of the model. The black and green elevation contours have been digitized to generate the DEM. and by providing.. The elevation value of each digi- lows the accurate modeling and volumetric represen. The geology of the model corresponds to represents the only way to precisely quantify geology the superimposition of three layers (yellow. they are difficult to acquire in areas of rough topography. We used the 3-D modeler to intersect the Y-shape faults. layer volumes. and transparent in the other. the top of the underlying horizon is therefore the base of the horizon above (e). The 3-D model space into fault blocks (Figure 2c). erate a DEM. fault offsets or interpolation’’ process. the bottom up. The oldest layer is modeled first. limited either by fault surfaces (if the geologic unit has been faulted) or by erosion surfaces. from these points. red. the surface ren- ume is defined within two surfaces corresponding to dering of other packages does not allow the clear un- the layer’s top and bottom. volume defined by its top. All data used on the model are shown in (b). volumetrics and enveloping green) all cut by a single. tized geologic feature contour is calculated by its pro- tation of any structural features in any geologic setting. 2-D grid) is defined first and used to split the simplification needs to be applied to the input data.z) at a given time (t). horizon limits (top. The horizon volumes are defined by their top surfaces. a numerically are automatically calculated renders the study feasible defined surface is then passed through these points to in a bearable time frame and with a possibility to up. Moreover. The volume can be further derstanding that our volumetric map provides. for example. Areas with very simple geologic set. The red horizon is represented in solid color in one fault block and transparent in the other (d). Its volume is limited by different surfaces: the model limits. It depicts three layers cut by a single. In these cases. 1468 Geohorizons . the top of the red layer. The fault surface faithfulness of the final display demonstrates that no (i. They are represented flexible package (EarthVision1) combined with a data by the black and green lines (Figure 2a) and small set that includes the definition of strike and dip of green dots (Figure 2b). and DEM). Digitized fault points are represented in pink. of complex areas had to be applied. namely. however. and green dots. which defeats the The overlying layer is defined in the same way. and Figure 2. The input data (a) are the geologic map alone. The whole volume is assembled from ric geologic maps. This work is unique in that it al. the interpolation of the changes in dip directions. Using fact that all intersections between horizons and faults a cluster of points in each fault block. We then calculated the DEM horizons and faults. To gen- surfaces.

Dhont et al. the entire geologic sequence. The DEM truncates Once the preliminary settings are defined in the each underlying volume and fills all remaining spaces package (mainly geologic rules. 1469 . below it. Search Index Search Results November Contents the base of its volume consists of the top of the un. giving the model its 3-D volumetric map derlying one (Figure 2e). fault surfaces shape. This process is applied for shape (Figure 2f ).

The layer geometries at depth. We corrected some of the fault bed- elevation is directly linked to the quality of the DEM dings according to the geologic setting by adding points and lies within a few tens of meters. mostly with a normal component as is depicted on the top of the horizon J5 corresponding to the basement of our geologic sequence for this model. derived from the Terra spacecraft section on Modeling Technique. 1951). Updating it takes only a few of moving. Considering the to shape their surface. and the inter- The available data used to model the Beirut watershed sections of the calculated geologic surfaces with the are inexpensive or even freely downloaded via the In. or removing input scattered data minutes because the whole model structure is already points. adding. The fault traces on the map are mostly rep- spread on the study area leading to an error less than resented by straight lines leading to the modeling of 100 m (330 ft) in the (x. such as a more accurate DEM and a higher reso. tours. and the global less than 20 hr to set up and compute. Its fine tuning geometry makes geologic sense. The corresponding 2-D grids are calculated and intersected following geologic rules using an earth-modeling package. In this process. Data used for the construction of the 3-D geologic model. The georeferencing of both highlighted on the image. The first-pass model took fits its contour on the geologic map. a model built example. Search Index Search Results November Contents and fault hierarchy). the computing of the model takes lution image. the layer contours have to be adjusted more detailed study would have required better input (1) at depth.usgs. freely available on the Internet.000 Beirut geologic draped onto the DEM. One difficulty resided in the modeling of fault DEM. We experienced that a few well. The contours were first digi- Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper image at 28.nasa. The back-interpolation of the digitized geo. The error in vertical surfaces. because away from the digitized con- data. Modifications consist took about the same time. the satellite image. A hierarchy is set. cross section interpretations. and (3) the scanned 1:50. The finalized model was validated once there was Workflow a close to perfect match between the geologic map of Dubertret (1951). 1470 Geohorizons . We picked three ground control points evenly surfaces. http://zulu. Faults are nearly vertical. DEM. A layer is made of an assemblage of several fault block volumes. The technique used to build the Beirut water- ternet (Figure 3). the geologic surfaces are de- logic contours onto the DEM is noisy (abrupt changes fined solely from their intersection with the topo- in dip and dip direction) when the contours are defined graphic surface. Further im- to a better defined surface. Hence. The power and uniqueness of this real only minutes. the layer tops are extrapolated by the package. Each different geologic unit is then represented as a volume. well surveys. thus allowing a more precise the geologic maps has been done using ground control drawing of the geologic contours than from the map points referenced from the already georeferenced alone.ssc. 1951) are corrected and georeferenced using the DEM in an interactive process. The rock contrasts are well map (Dubertret. provements can be made if field measurements. The digitized geologic contours of the 1:50. these values are acceptable.5-ft) tized from the geologic map and then corrected follow- pixel size (NASA Web site. The topographic surface is derived from the 30-m (100-ft) DEM obtained from Terra Aster Product. The validation of the model is done in case study lie in the fact that the 3-D model is fast a trial-and-error process until each geologic layer top to build and easy to update. therefore. Figure 3. are obviously extrapolated and may not picked points giving both a clear dip and location (for correspond to the actual geology.000 scale sheet of Beirut (Dubertret. are brought into the modeling process. Two cross sections are shown and display the relationship between horizons and faults. by too many points. They consist of (1) a 30-m (100-ft) shed model follows exactly the steps described in the ground pixel DEM. etc.y) direction.5-m (93.gov/pub/imswelcome/ ).gov ing the geomorphic interpretation from the image /mrsid).cr. (2) a color composite the digitized geologic map. the valley-shaped contour in Figure 2a) lead this way is only valid close to the surface. The depth color contouring highlights the deformation of the J5 horizon along faults. These measurements pro- vide valuable information that can be easily added to CASE STUDY the model. 3 vertical exaggeration. defined. The main difference Aster instruments (EOS Web site. The perspective view represented here corresponds to the digital geologic contours and faults. http://edcimswww resides in the combined use of the satellite image and . Once the fault geometry and size of the studied area.

1471 .Search Index Search Results November Contents Dhont et al.

Search Index Search Results November Contents 1472 Geohorizons .

the shapes of the event. Note that the C3 (Albian) and C4 (Cenomanian) ho- This is the case for the J7 (Tithonian) layer that out. we display ex- formation on the regional tectonic history. show a much more constant thickness. (2) synsedimentary variations in the thickness of C2a and C2b from one fault block to another. sug- is derived from the J6 (Oxfordian – Kimmeridgian). The top unit is shown floating and contains the layers younger than the C2b horizon. petrophysical modeling. from one fault block to another. Some layers with limited outcrops were trative purposes. The individual units can be augmented faults with a couple of hundred meters throw. with other attributes. natural risks management. Figure 4. making ing grabens a few kilometers in size. rizons. 2001. Dhont et al. nearly vertical and mining. The west-east cross section shows (1) variations in the sediment thickness along the entire cross section for C1. Graphical representations allow the ness changes. We have cut the 3-D model kind of input geologic map. The extrapolated part of the ho- rizon surfaces has been adjusted by adding a few points CONCLUSIONS at depth below the sea to constrain the dip of all sur- faces to remain constant and to give the horizons a From a DEM. Syntectonic deposition during this time interval adjustments.. For instance. dip angle and dip direction calculated from the contour Sawaf et al. the distribution grabens during this middle Cretaceous extensional of points was sufficient to prevent the need for any event. surface below the sea have been modeled in the sim- plest way possible. The advantage of such a 3-D map is that the geometric relationships between the geologic features are self-explanatory and easy to interpret. 1997. for of the C2a (Barremian) and C2b (Aptian) units vary example. The thicknesses it advantageous to integrate the 3-D map with. recording the synsed- cation leads to erroneous local bedding. logic maps or satellite images by themselves could not explanatory (Figure 4). The geologic sequence has been disassembled into two units. Using these data. and a geologic map constant thickness. On the east. from another layer defined by a better set of points. using the same individual geologic units. a satellite image. followed by (3) the uniform thickness of C3 and C4. and stratigraphic relationships. imentary fault motion and the filling of the small In the western part of the model. west cross section. such as rock properties. rical relationships between faults and horizons. we have grouped all layers younger modeled as intermediate surfaces taking their shape than C2b together floating above the syntectonic units. because inaccurate point lo. 1473 . The rigation. user to examine it from various directions. Homberg et al. whose shape erosion. the geologic map reveals features that standard 2-D geo- relationships between layers and faults being self. and it is tensional deformations during the middle Cretaceous provided in a way that a simple standard geologic map that are expressed by fault throw variations. we are able to generate an accurate 3-D geologic map of the Beirut watershed area (Lebanon) that high- lights with extreme clarity the structure of the studied Analysis area. therefore. has also been described elsewhere in Lebanon and Syria vatures of the surfaces are strictly caused by the local (Guiraud and Bosworth. 3-D geologic model shows numerous. Fleury et al. with as much accuracy as the input data permit. and remotely sensed data where needed and available. it is possible to quantify. The 3-D standable at first glance. 1999. even by nonspecialists. The 3-D map has been cut along two cross sections (displayed in red in the inset). the thickness changes and cur. show. Such a 3-D map displays in. For illus- themselves. although discontinuous on the model caused by crops only in the northeast of the model. Search Index Search Results November Contents and (2) at surface level. alone.. bound. the geomet- The 3-D map makes the geometry of the area under. in the studied area. complemented with field into four pieces along two cross sections. Each side of the cross section is pushed away from the other to display the cross section in the lowest layers of the model and its relationship with the neighboring areas. or disassemble it to examine the world and to other geologic tasks. The unit below contains the remaining sequence corresponding to layers older than C3. 2003). layer thick- cannot display. well management. the C1 ( Valanginian– Hauterivian) Three-dimensional maps will also prove to be power- layer progressively thickens from west to east because ful tools in other disciplines such as agricultural ir- of the subsidence of the eastern part of the area. slice it to This methodology can be applied to other parts of generate cross sections. gesting the end of this middle Cretaceous extensional In the eastern part of the model..

000... M. W. Brennan. v. Quantitative struc. Bulletin. A. stereo mapping of geologic structures with SPOT satellite data: p.. p. L.. W. Carte géologique de Liban au 1:50.461. M. Mroueh. C. R.. Bosworth. F. 84. Barazangi. 2004. p. Brew. 1999. K. J. and ming: AAPG Bulletin. and W. Institut Géographique National. v. T. 2000. T. Syria: Peri-Tethys Memoir 6. 1975. Barrier. Nice. Carte géologique du Liban au 1:200. Mitra. Favilene. v. Spain): AAPG Bulletin. I. 101 – 120. 2004. p.. Guiraud.. 2003. Remote surface mapping using Journal of the Geologic Society (London). B. 757 – orthophotos and geologic maps draped over digital elevation 760. and P. 282. T. 1992. The shear along the Dead Sea rift: Philosoph- Berger. 1951. C. Beyrouth. Freund. Wyo. p. AAPG Bulletin.. Hamdan. and S. Homberg. Z. A. Muñoz. p. and M. 107 – 130. and C. L. 441 – Fernandez. Paris. P. Three-dimensional reconstruction of geological surfaces: An Walley. Paris. E. O. du Liban: Notes et Mémoires du Moyen – Orient. H. 1955. Anderson. 13. v. Marzo. v. Somma. Institut Géographique National. R. Dubertret. 5.. 154. J.. 345 – Geologic evolution of the intraplate Palmyride basin and 403. p. Weissbrod. 1474 Geohorizons . models: Application to the Sheep Mountain anticline. Lee Willams.. Bey. Z. R. Early Cretaceous and Eocene extensions in Dubertret. 1049 – 1068. Dubertret. 1227 – 1237. Litak. 39 – 82. H. 2001. v.. 76. p. Arbués. Levantine region: Tectonophysics. 10. Chorowicz. 1970. 1997. Geologic ical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. F. Shaw. 1998. Hijazi. 467. G. Derin. 88. E. 298. Senonian basin inversion and Bilotti. and M. routh sheet. Some outstanding issues in the geology of example of growth strata and turbidite systems from the Ainsa Lebanon and their importance in the tectonic evolution of the basin (Pyrenees. Search Index Search Results November Contents REFERENCES CITED Fleury J. Lebanon: European Geophysical Society Meeting Abstracts. O. v. 727 – 740. L. and J. Goldberg. v. J. S. Euphrates fault system. D. Discussion on trans- current fault activity on the Dead Sea transform in Lebanon and its implications for plate tectonics and seismic hazards: Banerjee. Introduction à la carte géologique au 1/50. 267. 88. rejuvenation of rifting in Africa and Arabia: Synthesis and tural analysis with stereoscopic remote sensing imagery: AAPG implications to plate-scale tectonics: Tectonophysics. v. and D..000. Zak. p. Müller.000 Sawaf. Garfunkel. p. p. v. 37 – 62.