Constructing, Editing and Visualizing Integrated Models of Earth Structure

March 17 & 18, 2006
Synthesis Center, CalIT2 Building, University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

View Workshop Report (MS Word doc)

Workshop Group Photo

A fundamental goal of geophysical studies of the lithosphere is to characterize the 3-D structure of a region of interest in order to address key scientific questions. This could be accomplished by determining physical properties such as Vp, Vs, density, magnetic properties, electrical properties, anisotropy, attenuation (Q), temperature, etc. for volume elements that could take several forms. In addition, interfaces that represent features such as the Moho, faults, magmatic bodies, etc. must also be mapped in order to properly characterize a region. This goal can only be achieved through a highly integrated approach that takes advantage of all of the geological and geophysical constraints available.

In most cases, seismic methods have the potential for providing the greatest resolution at depth, but generally are the mostly costly approaches. Furthermore, many diverse techniques are available for each data type collected. Thus, developing an integration scheme for seismic results is an important first step in reaching our fundamental goal. Each type of seismic has its own sensitivities and resolution, and when used alone can constrain some aspects of the lithospheric structure. However, when used together with other data sets, the joint data sets have the potential for constraining fundamental aspects of the lithospheric structure.

Potential field data can also help constrain our lithospheric models. For example, gravity data are available in most regions and, due to the approximate physical relationships between density and seismic velocity, have long belong employed as at least as a qualitative check on seismic results particularly in the lithosphere. Formal integration has been attempted in many ways over the years, but some recent 3-D approaches are ideally suited for at least joint modeling that provides better overall models of lithospheric structure. These approaches are a significant step towards mapping 3-D volumes comprehensively.

However, after discussions with colleagues from many areas of the geoscience and information technology communities, it is clear that existing tools to construct, edit, and visualize integrated models of earth structure complete with faults and physical property discontinuities are inadequate. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together a group of individuals who are working on elements of this problem to share experiences and ideas on how we can move forward to develop more robust capabilities.

The invited community geologists participating in this focus group include:

Joe Breman, ESRI
Alex Erendi, Chevron
Matt Fouch, Arizona State University
John Hole, Virginia Tech
Mian Liu, University of Missouri
Charles Meertens, UNAVCO
Stephane Rondenay, MIT
Dogan Seber, SDSC/UCSD
Jeff Wagoner, LLNL

This workshop was organized and facilitated by Dr. Randy Keller, GEON PI, UTEP