Geological Models

The model building process involves several key steps:

  • Creating the project and setting up the modelling environment
  • Importing drillhole data and correcting errors
  • Importing other required data
  • Visualising the data in the scene and inspecting it to make sense of the model that will be built. It is at this stage that you might create new drillhole data columns to select data that will be the basis of geological models.
  • Creating a basic GM, then refining its boundary and defining a fault system
  • Modelling the contact surfaces
  • Setting the cutting relationships between the different contact surfaces and generating volumes

A fault system can also be defined that divides the geological model into subunits in which the internal structure can be defined independent of the other subunits in the model.

The rest of this topic describes the process of creating a geological model. It is divided into:

A geological model can be created using only a basic set of parameters. The only parameter that cannot be changed once the model has been created is the base lithology.

Creating a New Geological Model

To create a new geological model, right-click on the Geological Models folder and select New Geological Model. The New Geological Model window will open, together with a set of controls in the scene that help in defining the model extents.

The Base Lithology

Select the drillhole data column that will be used as the basis of a model from the Base Lithology Column dropdown list. If you do not wish to use lithology data as the basis for the model, select <None>. This may be the case if, for example, you want to build a model from points data or from an imported map. If you select <None>, you will need to manually define the lithologies that will be modelled.

If more than one column of lithology data is available for creating models, be sure to choose the correct one as it cannot be changed once the initial model has been created. If after creating and modifying the model, you find you need to modify the drillhole data, resulting in a new lithology column, you can use that new column to create contact surfaces using Other Contacts options.

You can also filter the drillhole data used to build the geological model using query filters. To do so, tick the Filter Data box and select the required query filter from the dropdown list. Once the model has been created, you can remove the filter or select a different filter.

Surface Resolution

The surface resolution setting Leapfrog Geo automatically uses as the default is based on the data available in the project. Set the surface resolution for the model as a whole and choose whether or not the resolution will be adaptive. See Surface Resolution in Leapfrog Geo for more information on the effects of these settings.

Later, while refining the model, you can change the resolution of each surface and enable or disable adaptive resolution. See Surface Resolution for a Geological Model.

Model Extents

A geological model is initially created with a basic rectangular set of extents aligned with the south/north and east/west axes. You can define the model’s extents in three ways:

  • Enter the coordinates.
  • Select Enclose Object and choose from the list of objects in the project. If the model is based on drillhole data, select the lithology segments from the Enclose Object list.
  • Use the controls that appear in the scene. The orange handle adjusts the centre of the plane and the red handles adjust the size.

See Object Extents for more information.

Enter a Name for the model that describes the purpose of the model. This Name will be used in naming the objects that will be added to the model. Click OK to create the new model. The new geological model will be created and added to the Geological Models folder.

See Editing a Geological Model for information on how to change the basic settings for the model.

The Geological Model in the Project Tree

The objects under the geological model in the project tree represent different parts of the model:

  • The Boundary object defines the limits of the geological model. When the model is first created, this is the rectangular model extents. If a topography has been defined, it is automatically used for as the upper boundary. See Modifying the Model’s Boundary for more information about modifying the boundary.
  • The Fault System object defines faults and their interactions in the model. See Faulted Models.
  • The Lithologies object describes all the lithological units to be modelled and the colours that are used to display them on the screen. It is generated automatically from all the lithologies identified in drillhole data selected when the model is created. If no column was selected, you will need to define the lithologies manually before you start modelling the lithology layers.
  • The Surface Chronology object describes the contact surfaces in the model, organised in chronological order, from youngest to oldest. These surfaces and their chronology determine how the volume inside the model extents is divided into lithological units. When the model is first created, the Surface Chronology is empty, but it will eventually hold all contact surfaces and inputs to them.
  • The Output Volumes folder contains all the volumes generated in building the geological model in chronological order, from youngest to oldest. When the model is first created, the Surface Chronology is empty and so there is only a single output volume that fills the model’s extents, called “Unknown”.

Geological Model Display

Display the geological model by dragging it into the scene or by right-clicking on it and selecting View Output Volumes.

When a geological model is first created, the only volume that appears under the Output Volumes folder will be a volume called “Unknown”. Once contact surfaces have been generated and added to the Surface Chronology object, new volumes will be generated and added to the Output Volumes folder. To view the generated volumes in the scene, you can:

  • Drag the volumes into the scene, one by one
  • Drag the geological model object into the scene
  • Right-click on the Output Volumes folder and select View All

See Meshes for more information on some of the options available for the individual Output Volumes.

You can export all of the output volumes for a geological model in a single file. See Geological Model Volumes and Surfaces Export Options below for more information.

Copying a Geological Model

Creating a copy of a geological model is a useful way of experimenting with changes to a model.

To copy a geological model, right-click on it in the project tree and select Copy. Enter a name for the copy of the model and click OK. The copy will be added to the project tree.

Creating a Static Copy of a Geological Model

Creating a static copy preserves a snapshot of a geological model that does not change, even when changes are made to the data on which the original model was dependent. This is a useful way of storing historical models and comparing models. Static copies can be exported from Leapfrog Geo, as described in Geological Model Volumes and Surfaces Export Options below.

To create a static copy of a geological model, right-click on it in the project tree and select Static Copy. Enter a name for the copy of the model and click OK. The copy will be added to the Geological Models folder.

In the project tree, the static copy () is made up of a Legend object (), the output volumes () and all surfaces created in building the model.

Static models created in earlier versions of Leapfrog Geo (before 2.2) copied only the output volumes and the legend, and the static model appeared in the shape list only as a single line. When these static models are upgraded and displayed in the scene, the individual output volumes will be added to the shape list.

To view the date a static copy was created, right-click on it in the project tree and select Properties. The date the copy was created is shown in the General tab.

Geological Model Volumes and Surfaces Export Options

There are three options for exporting a geological model’s output volumes and surfaces. These are:

  • Export an output volume or a surface as a mesh. Right-click on it in the project tree and click Export. You will be prompted for a file name and location. See Exporting a Single Mesh.
  • Export an output volume as a thickness grid. Right-click on it in the project tree and click Export Thickness Grid. See Thickness Grid Export.
  • Export multiple output volumes and surfaces. Right-click on the geological model in the project tree and select Export. See Exporting Multiple Meshes from Models and Interpolants.

When exporting output volumes, the Merge output lithology volumes setting in the geological model’s General tab (see Editing a Geological Model) determines how the output volumes are handled when they are exported. If this setting is enabled, internal walls and surface seams will be removed from volumes of the same lithology.