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3D geologic model, Petrel, Sand and Gravel Resources, Quaternary, Wisconsin USA


A three-dimensional (3D) geologic model was developed for Quaternary deposits in southern Walworth County, WI using Petrel, a software package primarily designed for use in the energy industry. The purpose of this research was to better delineate and characterize the shallow glacial deposits, which include multiple shallow sand and gravel aquifers. The 3D model of Walworth County was constructed using datasets such as the U.S. Geological Survey 30 m digital elevation model (DEM) of land surface, published maps of the regional surficial geology and bedrock topography, and a database of water-well records. Using 3D visualization and interpretation tools, more than 1400 lithostratigraphic picks were efficiently interpreted amongst 725 well records. The final 3D geologic model consisted of six Quaternary lithostratigraphic units and a bedrock horizon as the model base. The Quaternary units include in stratigraphic order from youngest to oldest: the New Berlin Member of the Holy Hill Formation, the Tiskilwa Member of the Zenda Formation, a Sub-Tiskilwa Sand/Gravel unit, the Walworth Formation, a Sub-Walworth Sand/Gravel unit, and a Pre-Illinoisan unit. Compared to previous studies, the results of this study indicate a more detailed distribution, thickness, and interconnectivity between shallow sand and gravel aquifers and their connectivity to shallow bedrock aquifers. This study can also help understand uncertainty within previous local groundwater-flow modeling studies and improve future studies.

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We would like to thank Schlumberger Inc. for providing the Petrel software package as a gift to the Department of Geography-Geology at Illinois State University. Funding for the graduate assistantship for Ms. Lau was provided by the Illinois State Geological Survey. Open access fees were provided by the Illinois State University Foundation.



This article was originally published by Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 32;

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (

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