UK: The geological map of Great Britain has been extended into the third dimension with the release of GB3D by the British Geological Survey (BGS). This model of the geology beneath our feet is made up of a network of cross-sections through the earth’s crust of Great Britain. This new way of visualising national-scale geology will benefit all seeking to understand its relationship to landscape and resources (such as water, oil, minerals, coal and gas), and for educators and the public.
The current national-scale geological map of Great Britain represents the rocks found at the surface in two-dimensions. Only a small amount of information is presented at this scale for the geology in the third dimension i.e. that underground. Most geological maps have a single crosssection, which represent a slice through the earth’s crust, which shows the relationship of the different rock layers in the ground underneath the area of the geological map.
The new GB3D geological model has taken newly created digital cross-sections of the geology across Great Britain and joined them up in a ‘fence diagram’. The individual cross-sections were created using the geological modelling software, GSI3D which uses information on the geology at depth from boreholes and geophysical surveying.
Professor John Ludden, Executive Director of the BGS, said, “This new 3D model of Great Britain clearly shows the sub-surface structure of the most important aquifers. Improving the understanding of the 3D geometry of these aquifers will help to safeguard these nationally important water resources. It will also provide a foundation for those seeking to develop new resources such as shale gas and to explore the potential for geothermal heat sources.”
Stephanie Bricker, Hydrogeologist at the BGS said, “To manage our water resources effectively, particularly against a backdrop of climatic uncertainty, we need a good understanding of geology at large scales. We are using GB3B in the Thames Basin to highlight to decision-makers where water is stored and to demonstrate how future predictions about water availability are best made using a model that links all water resources in the river catchment.”