Abstract

Different remote sensing technologies, including photogrammetry and LIDAR (light detection and ranging), allow collecting three-dimensional (3D) data sets that can be used to create 3D digital representations of outcrop surfaces, called digital outcrop models (DOM). The main advantages of photogrammetry over LIDAR are represented by the very simple and lightweight field equipment (a digital camera), and by the arbitrary spatial resolution, that can be increased simply getting closer to the outcrop or by using a different lens. The quality of photogrammetric data sets obtained with structure from motion (SFM) techniques has shown a tremendous improvement over the past few years, and this is becoming one of the more effective ways to collect DOM data sets. The Vajont Gorge (Belluno Dolomites, Italy) provides spectacular outcrops of jurassic limestones (Vajont Limestone Formation) in which mesozoic faults and fracture corridors are continuously exposed. Some of these faults acted as conduits for fluids, resulting in structurally controlled dolomitization. A 3D DOM study, based on a photogrammetric SFM data set, was carried out, aimed at enabling interdisciplinary characterization and reconstruction of coupled brittle deformation and fluid flow processes. For this study we used a DOM (730 m × 360 m × 270 m) consisting of continuous triangulated surfaces representing the outcrop, textured with high-resolution images. Interpretation and modeling performed on this data set include (1) georeferencing of structural measurements and sampling stations; (2) tracing of stratigraphic boundaries, structural surfaces, and dolomitization fronts (ground-truthed); (3) correlation and extrapolation of realistic 3D surfaces from these traces; and (4) development of a 3D geological model at the scale of the Vajont Gorge, including stratigraphy, faults, dolomitization fronts, and volumetric meshes suitable for the statistical analysis of structural, diagenetic, and geochemical parameters. The DOM study highlighted the close relationship between faults and dolostone geobodies, demonstrating that dolomitization was guided by fluid infiltration along Mesozoic normal faults. In order to explore the uncertainty associated with the 3D model of irregularly shaped dolostone bodies, three different 3D dolostone geobody realizations have been modeled, providing a minimum, intermediate, and maximum estimate of the dolostone/limestone volumetric facies ratio, while honoring the field constraints.

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