3D-Photogeology and structural geology

Photo interpretation of geological structures in a stereo 3D environment is a powerful tool in understanding geodynamic processes.

3D Photogeology

The method developed at the GEUS Photogrammetry Laboratory is a 3D mapping tool to collect geological data using oblique and aerial photos with a highly defined 3D overview of the outcrop in a real coordinate system.

The 3D mapping tool is based on:

  • Oblique photos collected from a helicopter;
  • Triangulation using aerial photos and a 3D stereo-plotter;

and can be used for:

  • Extraction of strike/dip directions of geological features
  • ArcGIS database for 3D-polylines
  • Suitable for 3D-modelling in other platforms
  • Automatic geological cross-section in ArcGIS

Structural Geology

The main goal of Structural Geology is to define the deformation history of rocks by analyzing present-day rock geometries to understand palaeostress fields. The dynamics of stress fields are important in understanding regional geologic events, such as mountain building or rifting due to plate tectonic movements. Structural Geology is relevant for Economic Geology including Petroleum Geology and Ore Geology since:

  • Folded and faulted rocks form traps that allow for accumulation of fluids such as petroleum and natural gas;
  • Faulted areas are permeable zones for hydrothermal fluids and the potential concentration areas for base- and precious metal ore deposits;
  • Structurally fractured and faulted zones, often in association with intrusive igneous rocks, may contain veins of minerals with various metals.


Pierpaolo Guarnieri
Senior Research Scientist
Petrology and Economic Geology