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GEO3Z03

STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY

Lecture 4: Mapping Fundamentals

Lecture 4: Topics

geologic maps
structure contour and structure maps
three-point problems, cross-sections
stereonets

Representation of Geologic Structures


Structural orientation data are displayed and analysed using
various types of graphical aids
geologic maps
structure maps
cross-sections
stereonets
rose diagrams
histograms

Geologic Maps
Shows surface distribution of rock types and contacts
structures portrayed using symbols (strike and dip of beds,
fold axes, faults etc.)
read and interpret map to infer subsurface structure

Outcrop Patterns
Outcrop patterns controlled by attitude (strike and dip) of beds
and topographic relief
predictable for inclined beds

Rule of Vs
Outcrop pattern of dipping planar bedding is predictable in
valleys
beds dipping downstream V-downstream
beds dipping upstream V-upstream

dip upstream

dip downstream

Rule of Vs
Outcrop of vertical bed will always parallel the direction of
strike, regardless of terrain
e.g. vertical dike intruded into older strata
vertical structures usually easy to spot on satellite imagery,
air photos

Rule of Vs
Inclined bedding dipping at same gradient as stream will
Parallel stream valley contours

Outcrop Patterns
Which direction are beds dipping relative to stream valley?

Outcrop Patterns
Which direction are beds dipping relative to stream valley?

Block Models/Diagrams
Relations between outcrop pattern and subsurface structure are
visualized using block models or diagrams
construct cross-sections along map edges

Bryce 3-D
Block models now constructed using 3-D modelling sofware
slice and dice stratigraphy interactively

Structure Contour Maps


Map showing the relief on a geologic surface
e.g. top or bottom of bedding plane, fault, folded surface
constructed from borehole data

Structure Contours
Structure contour lines are lines of equal elevation
show elevation relative to a horizontal datum
values are often negative since subsurface elevations are
commonly below sea level
Projection
of map
plane
-30

-10

Folded surface
(antiform)

0
-10
-20
-30

Elevation metres

-20

Datum Surface
Datum is a horizontal reference surface (e.g. sea level)
commonly use subsurface datum - usually regional
stratigraphic surface with low relief (e.g. top of shale)

BH-1
Datum = 0 m

Depth

BH-3

BH-2
Unit A

Unit B - Shale

100 m

Elevation =
- 100 m b.d.s.

Unit C

BH-4

Constructing Structure Contours


Structure contours defined by finding points of equal elevation
along a bed contact
find intersections of contact with topo contour
draw structure contours through points of equal elevation
Unit A
100 m a.s.l.
90

80
100
90

Unit B

80

Example:
Unit A
100 m a.s.l.
90

80
100
90

Unit B

80

Planar Surfaces
For uniformly dipping plane, the structure contours are
parallel lines
contours equally spaced for surface of constant dip

- 10 m

- 20
45

45
- 30

- 40

INCLINED BED WITH


CONSTANT DIP ANGLE

- 50
STRUCTURE CONTOUR MAP

Curvi-planar Surfaces
Contours lines are curvilinear with variable spacing
e.g. folded surface, erosion surface with valleys, ridges
dip direction and magnitude changes across map
FOLD AXES

- 10

- 20
- 30
- 40

- 50
COMPLEXLY FOLDED
DIPPING SURFACE

STRUCTURE CONTOUR MAP

Rules of Contouring
The general rules of contouring also apply to all structure
maps:
1) contours cannot cross or bi-furcate
2) contours cannot end in the middle of the map, except at
a fault or other discontinuity
3) same contour interval must be used across the map and
elevations must be labelled
4) elevation is specified relative to datum (e.g. m above sea
level)

Determining Dip Angle,


Dip direction and angle can be determined from structure
contour map
measure horizontal separation X, find difference in Z
tan = Z/X, = tan-1 (Z/X)
e.g. = tan-1 (10 m/100 m),
= 6

- 10

Distance between
structure contours (X)

- 20
100 m
- 30
- 40
6

20 m

Change in
elevation (Z)

- 50
30 m

STRUCTURE CONTOUR MAP

Three-point Problem
Minimum of three points is required to uniquely define a
orientation of a plane
can construct structure contours given minimum of three
boreholes
40

40

40

50

20

40

30

20

20

50

30

50 m a.s.l.

Three-point Problem
1. Find minimum and maximum values
2. Draw line between max, min elevations and subdivide
into equal distance intervals
3. Connect points of equal elevation to define structure
contour

40

20

20

30

30

40

40

50

50

Isochore Map
Map showing change in thickness of stratigraphic interval
constructed from borehole data
does not take into account dips of surfaces and is an
apparent thickness
BH-1
BH-2
Unit A
Apparent
thickness
Unit B

Unit C

Zero Thickness
Areas where stratigraphic unit is absent (eroded or not
deposited) are bounded by a zero contour
zero contour useful in defining edges of geologic units e.g.
oil-bearing sandstones
ISOPACH OF FURNACE CREEK UPPER SAND (THICKNESS IN METRES)
0

0
0

0
0

11

32
6

0
38

22

48

25

14

33

45
40

0
7
20

21

31
34

0
0

0
8

0
6

36

0
8

14

0
20

30
10

30

20

10
25

500
metres

12

15

25

Isopach Map
Map showing thickness of unit taken perpendicular to bed
sometimes difficult to estimate true thickness when there is
lots of relief on bounding surfaces
calculate using trig
BH-1
BH-2

Structure Cross-sections
Cross-section is a 2-D slice through stratigraphy
construct by projecting elevations of structure contours onto
profile
procedure called orthographic projection