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Abstract

It is widely known that, in order to model tectonic processes accurately, 3D approaches are required. However, due to the greater numerical challenges and much enhanced costs, most commercially available software packages only offer two-dimensional or “pseudo three-dimensional” (2.5-D) applications to simplify the underlying mathematics. In the 2.5-D approach, the third dimension is generally created by a mere orthogonal projection of a single section in two directions at a certain distance from its original position. Yet, despite creating a 3D space, lateral variations in the subsurface are ignored and the resulting model often remains an oversimplification that often does not represent natural observations. A particular problem is given in sedimentary basins containing salt. The fluidlike behavior of salt over geological times requires true 3D models to allow for in- and out-of section salt flow and to preserve both the salt mass and its volume. None of this can be achieved in 2D or 2.5-D, respectively. Evaluation of evolutionary models derived from 2D restoration must therefore consider the associated geometric simplifications.

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