A new perspective to model subsurface stratigraphy in alluvial hydrogeological basins, introducing geological hierarchy and relative chronology

Chiara Zuffetti, Alessandro Communian, Riccardo Bersezio & Philippe Renard

Résumé This paper presents a novel perspective for modelling alluvial stratigraphy. It integrates the spatial geological information, geological maps and well log descriptions, with the rules describing the hierarchy and relative chronology of the geological entities. As geological modelling tools are moving fast forward, the urgent need for expert geological input, codified as modelling rules, persists. Concerning subsurface alluvial architectures, the concepts of “stratigraphic hierarchy” and “relative chronology” provide the most relevant rules which permit to link the modelling procedure to the geo-history of a region. The paper shows how to formalize this knowledge into modelling rules. This is illustrated and implemented in a Python™ module named HIEGEO which is applied on a 2-D cross-section from the Po Basin (N-Italy). The stratigraphic correlation yields 2-D pictures of the hierarchic stratigraphy and relative chronology of the units. The input are: an attribute table of stratigraphic boundaries expressing their hierarchy and chronology; contact points where these boundaries cross the control logs. Since the aim of HIEGEO is to illustrate the principle of the method but not to replace existing 3-D geological modelling tools, it implements a linear interpolation algorithm which creates joins between contact points. It plots linear joins framing polygons based on their hierarchy, at any user’s desired detail. HIEGEO highlights potential inconsistencies of the input dataset, helping to re-evaluate the geological interpretation. The proposed workflow allows to: i) translate geological knowledge into modelling rules; ii) compute stratigraphic models constrained by the hierarchy of stratigraphic entities and the relative chronology of geological events; iii) represent internal geometries of the stratigraphic units, accounting for their composite nature; iv) reduce uncertainty in modelling alluvial architectures. It represents a starting point for multi-scale applications and could be easily integrated into 3-D modelling packages, to couple the hierarchical concept proposed here with existing advanced interpolation methods.
Mots-clés Alluvial stratigraphy; Hierarchy; Modelling rules; Po basin; Python; Relative chronology
Citation Zuffetti, C., Communian, A., Bersezio, R., & Renard, P. (2023). A new perspective to model subsurface stratigraphy in alluvial hydrogeological basins, introducing geological hierarchy and relative chronology. Computers & Geosciences, 140, 104506-104530.
Type Article de périodique (Anglais)
Date de publication 17-1-2023
Nom du périodique Computers & Geosciences
Volume 140
Pages 104506-104530
URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cageo.2020.104506