ABSTRACT

The ability to visualize subsurface geologic information is critical to sound decision making in many disciplines of geology. While there are numerous commercial off-the-shelf software solutions available to model geologic data in both 2D and 3D, these can be costly and have a steep learning curve. Some of the same functionality of these software packages can be accomplished by workflows that incorporate built-in geoprocessing tools of Geographic Information System (GIS) software. These workflows allow the geologist to plot vertical or inclined borehole data in 2D or 3D, create section views of raster data along section lines, and provide a means to convert contact elevations from existing geologic cross sections into plan-view or 3D space. These workflows have been successfully used to visualize construction data and subsurface geologic information for several embankment dams. Grouting and exploratory borehole data from databases with tens of thousands of records have been transformed into 2D and 3D GIS features. The workflows were instrumental in developing a 3D GIS model of site geology from which a series of geologic cross sections were drawn. These sections were critical in informing risk decisions related to the foundation conditions for a recent risk assessment of an earthen embankment dam.

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