3D geological modelling

A three-dimensional (3D) geological model is an evidence based spatial computer representation of the Earth’s subsurface geology. 3D models built by the Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV) help geoscientists better understand and interpret Victoria’s regional crustal architecture, and are an important predictive exploration tool for the earth resources sector. 3D models also provide a powerful communication tool that can be used to help explain the structure, composition and geological processes that make up the Earth’s crust.

The GSV uses a multidisciplinary approach for building 3D models. Multiple geoscientific datasets are interrogated when building 3D models to increase the likelihood of a realistic representation of the rocks beneath the surface. The most common datasets used include the surface geology, and geophysical data such as aeromagnetic, gravity and seismic and associated derivative products. A variety of other datasets are also utilised if they are available (e.g., geochemistry, geochronology etc.).

3D model applications

Regional 3D models have many scientific, industry and public-good applications including:

  • Mineral and energy exploration
  • 3D visualisation of regional geological structures
  • Tectonic interpretation
  • Geohazard analysis
  • Understanding and modelling of groundwater
  • Geothermal exploration
  • Characterising fault systems
  • Fluid flow modelling
  • Geostatistics / volume estimation
  • Forward and inversion modelling
  • Geoscience education
  • Community engagement
  • Minimising exploration risk for industry

GSV’s 3D models

The Geological Survey of Victoria has built a number of models at different scales through specific work programs and initiatives. A few of these include:

  • The Whole of Victoria model is a full crustal thickness model, extending from the surface to the base of the crust. It is designed to provide explorers and resource managers with a regional 3D geological context.
  • The Stavely model completed through the Stavely minerals exploration Initiative, is a more detailed ‘bridging scale’ model for the central Grampians-Stavely Zone of western Victoria that includes the Cambrian-aged Stavely Arc, prospective for arc-related mineral systems.
  • The GSV has also built detailed regional scale models for both the Otway and Gippsland basins released through the Victorian Gas Program. These models aim to characterise the geometry of the basin and inform prospectivity of a variety of commodities including geothermal, oil, gas, water and carbon and hydrogen storage.

Accessing Victorian 3D models

GeoVic provides a graphical interface which enables the spatial extent of model boundaries to be visualised. Using the ‘info tool’ in GeoVic, specific models can be selected, and downloaded from the Geological Survey of Victoria catalogue via a direct link. 3D models can also be accessed directly via the GSV Online Store.

3D visualisation

3D visualisation of geological models can form the foundation for geological discovery. The Geological Survey of Victoria has a stereo 3D visualisation facility which is used to interrogate 3D models and visualise them alongside other geoscientific datasets. Companies are encouraged to bring their geoscientific data / 3D models into the facility to visualise within the framework of GSV’s regional scale 3D models, providing a broader geological context for their models.

Page last updated: 28 Feb 2022