In December 2012 the geological map of Great Britain was extended into the third dimension with the release of GB3D; shown as a network of cross-sections through the earth's crust.
This new way of visualising 3D national-scale geology will benefit people seeking to understand its relationship to landscape and resources; such as water, oil, minerals, coal and gas. It may also prove to be a useful tool to help explain complex geological relationships to the public and in education.
Conventional 2D geological maps typically include one or two cross-sections, representing a slice through the earth's crust, that shows the relationship of the different rock layers in the ground at depth; the face of such maps showing the rocks found at the surface
The GB3D geological model uses digital cross-sections of the geology across Great Britain and joins them up in a 'fence diagram'.
You can open cross sections of GB3D, in Google Earth for example, to rotate, tilt and zoom into an area of interest and interrogate a geological layer — at depth — at your point of interest.
This national-scale model will help users to better visualise the subsurface at county, regional and national scale. This is particularly useful in modelling the flow and storage of water supplies between numerous aquifers.
The individual cross-sections are created using the geological modelling software, GSI3D which uses information on the geology at depth from boreholes and geophysical surveying.
The GB3D geological model for Great Britain is available for free as a digital download; either as a 3D pdf, as a Google Earth layer or as part of a free BGS model viewer:
The GB3D downloads listed here are delivered under the Open Government Licence, subject to the following acknowledgement accompanying the reproduced BGS materials: "Contains British Geological Survey materials © NERC [year]".
Known issue: in the 3D Window use a vertical exaggeration of X11 to view colours correctly for all attributes.
For further information contact Stephen Mathers