Use of 3D visualisation techniques to identify minimal impact sand and gravel extraction sites

Benham, A.J.; Kessler, H.. 2005 Use of 3D visualisation techniques to identify minimal impact sand and gravel extraction sites. In: Sustainable development indicators in the minerals industry : Institute of Mining Engineering I, RWTH Aachen University, 18-20 May 2005 : Aachen International Mining Symposia : second international conference : [proceedings]. Essen, Germany, Verlag Gluckauf GmbH, 487-497.

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The use of sand and gravel as building materials has increased over recent years and this trend is set to continue with the demand for more housing across Britain, especially in the southeast region. This is placing greater strain on existing sand and gravel operations and is leading to pressure to locate new resources when existing quarries become depleted or can no longer cope with demand. At the same time, knowledge of the location, thickness, and quality of sand and gravel deposits is crucial in determining future sites for extraction and it is important for planning authorities to follow the principal of sustainable development by not allowing resources to be sterilised by urbanisation. Existing geological mapping of superficial deposits does not give an accurate representation of subsurface resources and sand and gravel quarrying in the UK is sometimes carried out without the benefit of a clear three dimensional (3D) picture of the local geology. In recent years the emergence of more powerful computers has enabled sub-surface geology to be visualised in 3D so that exploration and extraction can be planned more efficiently and 3D geological maps are becoming increasingly important tools for planners and aggregate companies. During the 1970s and 1980s a large number of boreholes were drilled by BGS’s Industrial Mineral Assessment Unit (IMAU) to assess the sand and gravel potential across the country. We have used this data and a new software tool - Geological Surveying and Investigation in 3D (GSI3D) to produce a solid 3D model of the subsurface geology of selected areas. The modelling involves the construction of a grid of closely spaced cross-sections from which the model is computed by triangulation. The resource potential of the various stratigraphic units identified has also been attributed in the model and where present detailed grading information from the IMAU surveys has been included in the visualisation. The GSI3D approach is demonstrated from areas of Southern East Anglia where IMAU surveys were undertaken and important aggregate resources occur. It is hoped to extend this coverage further in the near future. The models produced allow the visualisation of subsurface mineral resources and these can be manipulated and viewed according to the users requirements. The models can, for example, be exported for analysis in GIS enabling the calculation of aggregate thicknesses, volumes, and ratios of waste-overburden-aggregate to determine cut-off points. It is hoped such models will prove a useful tool for exploration and site selection for the aggregate industry.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Economic Minerals
ISBN: 377395994X
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 11 Feb 2014 14:46 +0 (UTC)

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