3D Visualisation Techniques: New Advances and Applications

Recent advances in computational power have driven innovations in graphic design and three-dimensional modeling in mining and exploration. No longer is a geologist or engineer tied to two-dimensional sections and plans previously used to interpret the geology or mine plan for a deposit.

However, where there are innovations, a competent geologist or engineer must be aware of the pitfalls. SRK’s geological modeling approach ensures a three-dimensional model is built on the thorough understanding of the deposit’s geology using traditional geological tools, such as structure contours and 3-point solutions, to aid interpretation. Care must be taken to construct interpretations in 2D and 3D that are strongly linked to ‘geo-reality’ and not ‘geo-fantasy’.

At the outset, SRK constructs a plan on how the geological model will be put to use: for resource, exploration, rock mechanics, mine planning, hydrogeological investigations – and on the scale required for each. A hierarchy and geological framework for the deposit is required, outlining which geological entities should be modeled first, using which data sources.

Several new advances in geological software enable the construction and validation of 3D geological models. SRK uses a combination of Leapfrog, FracSIS, and Gemcom software to aid geological modeling.

Using Leapfrog, we can model the first order distribution of numerical datasets rapidly, including grade, magnetic susceptibility, geotech parametres, and deleterious elements. This often highlights unforeseen geological trends which, previously, were poorly represented in traditional geological models.

Using FracSIS, we can integrate multiple 2D and 3D datasets, for example, allowing the interrogation of drillhole versus geological mapping data, geophysical data, satellite imagery, and existing 3D geological models.

Recent advances in Gemcom have expanded its 3D graphics and geological modeling capability. It can drive geological modeling by interrogating drillhole data, but when required to integrate with other data sources, including geological mapping and satellite imagery, it falls short.

Currently no one software package stands alone as the complete solution for geological modeling. However, by integrating Leapfrog, FracSIS, and Gemcom software, we can produce significantly advanced geological models in reduced timeframes, and often highlight unforeseen exploration potential around existing deposits.

James Siddorn: jsiddorn@srk.com


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