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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Method article
12 May 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).
Methods and uncertainty-estimations of 3D structural modelling in crystalline rocks: A case study
Raphael Schneeberger1, Miguel De la Varga2, Daniel Egli1, Alfons Berger1, Florian Kober3, Florian Wellmann2, and Marco Herwegh1 1Institute for Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1+3, CH - 3012 Bern
2Graduate School AICES, RWTH Aachen University, Schinkelstrasse 2, D - 52062 Aachen
3Nagra, Hardstrasse 73, CH - 5430 Wettingen
Abstract. Exhumed basement rocks are often dissected by faults, the latter controlling physical parameters such as rock strength, porosity, or permeability. Knowledge on the three dimensional (3D) geometry of the fault pattern and its continuation with depth is therefore of paramount importance for projects of applied geology (e.g. tunnelling, nuclear waste disposals) in crystalline bedrock. The central Aar massif (Central Switzerland) serves as study area, where we investigate the 3D geometry of the Alpine fault pattern by means of both surface (fieldwork and remote sensing) and underground ground (mapping of the Grimsel Test Site) information. The fault zone pattern consists of planar steep major faults (kilometre-scale) being interconnected with secondary relay faults (hectometre-scale). Starting with surface data, we present a workflow for structural 3D modelling of the primary faults based on a comparison of three extrapolation approaches based on: a) field data, b) Delaunay triangulation and c) a best fitting moment of inertia analysis. The quality of these surface-data-based-3D models is then tested with respect to the fit of the predictions with the underground appearance of faults. All three extrapolation approaches result in < 6 % distance misfit when compared with underground rock laboratory mapping. Subsequently, we performed a statistically interpolation based on Bayesian inference in order to validate and further constrain the uncertainty of the extrapolation approaches. This comparison indicates that fieldwork at the surface is key for accurately constraining the geometry of the fault pattern enabling a proper extrapolation of major faults towards depth. Considerable uncertainties, however, persist with respect to smaller-sized secondary structures because of their limited spatial extensions and unknown reoccurrence intervals.

Citation: Schneeberger, R., De la Varga, M., Egli, D., Berger, A., Kober, F., Wellmann, F., and Herwegh, M.: Methods and uncertainty-estimations of 3D structural modelling in crystalline rocks: A case study, Solid Earth Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Raphael Schneeberger et al.
Raphael Schneeberger et al.
Raphael Schneeberger et al.


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