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3D geological model of Catalonia

The three-dimensional study of subsoil geology has become in recent years one of the main objectives for the academic community, industry and institutions involved in the management and development of the territory. It is for this reason that, in the Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia, 3D modeling is a prominent line in the research plan.

The three-dimensional complexity of geological structures makes the best approximation for their knowledge is three-dimensional modeling.


The techniques of reconstruction of geological structures have a very recent application and contemplate very important applications, among which the following should be highlighted:

  • Land management: underground works.
  • Storage in the underground: geological storage of CO2, natural gas or compressed air.
  • Exploration and exploration of natural resources: fossil fuels and water.
  • Three-dimensional location of the hypocenters of earthquakes.
  • Environmental studies: aquifer contamination.

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This cartography is under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
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Presentation of the 3D geological model of Catalonia

3D geological model at a resolution equivalent to 1:250,000 scale

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The improvement in the visualization of the structure and the composition of the subsoil allows a better disclosure of the geological knowledge.

In this first version of 2013, only the most important surfaces (stratigraphic and structural discontinuities) have been modeled, leaving the volumes between them as empty spaces.

Vista general del Modelo geológico 3D de Cataluña

Overview of 3D geological model of Catalonia

3D geological model with earthquake hypocenters

Evolution of the project

The evolution of the project has been structured in different phases of work:

July - December 2009. During this first period, data have been collected (both underground and surface), especially those more accessible and public. Still, and in parallel, it has been performing its classification and quality control, as well as its adaptation to the standard formats.

September 2010 - March 2011. The work carried out has focused on two aspects. On the one hand, in the adaptation and reinterpretation of both the existing geological information and the new information collected. This part of the work done is the longest and most important because it determines the validity of the resulting geological model. On the other hand, in the reconstruction to obtain the final 3D model.

Evolution of the 3D Model. The geological information generated and compiled by the ICGC will be incorporated into the 3D Model to progressively improve the resolution of the information. In the medium term, we will work on the characterization of subsoil rock volumes and the creation of consultation tools.

Basal thrust jump. North-South section shows the morphology of the basal thrust and the Nogueres thrust, as well as the modeled surface of the Mohorovicic discontinuity. Also the fault jump produced by the basal thrust is appreciated.

Valles trench. This image shows the fault of the Vallès Penedès, which limits the Vallès trench to the north and affects some of the modelized stratigraphic surfaces.

The 3D Geological Model of Catalonia has been built using the GOCAD® program of Paradigm (https://www.pdgm.com/products/GOCAD).

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