3D investigation of joint systems using photogrammetric methods


The understanding of 3D joint pattern in rocks is very important with regard to many aspects in geosciences, e.g. geothermal reservoir characterization, formation of mineralization or groundwater flow. Moreover, characterisation of joint patterns has a great relevance for geotechnical problems.

In the past years, different studies described a scale independent, fractal distribution of geologic structures, but only in one or two dimensions, yet. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get a complete view of joint systems, because outcrops normally are limited to two dimensions to the observer.

The spatial distribution of joints will be investigated by using photogrammetric methods, which allow the creation of high resolution 3-D models of the visible outcrop. It is possible to use these 3-D models to analyse the geometric correlation and the 3D complexity of joints.

The aim of this study is the photogrammetric documentation of joint systems in an active quartzite quarry, while the constant digging creates new outcrops, which allows the evaluation in three dimensions. A major task is to prove the predictability of the position and orientation of joints. The development of this question could also provide improvement in terms of geotechnical aspects (predictability of rock parameters and economisation of rock digging).

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