Original paper

An interactive voxel model for mineral resources: loess deposits in Flanders (Belgium)

van Haren, Tom; Dirix, Katrijn; De Koninck, Roel; De Groot, Chris; De Nil, Katrien

Abstract

As Belgian loess deposits are of great importance for ceramic industry in Belgium, a well-balanced resource management of this material is essential for maintaining its long-term exploitability. A primary requirement for such a management programme is a thorough understanding of the spatial distribution and thickness of the loess deposits in Flanders. Such 3D information can efficiently be captured in a so called "voxel model". This paper describes a simple three-step voxel modelling procedure developed by VITO. This procedure effectively translates more than 8700 boreholes into a voxel model consisting of cells of 25 × 25 × 0.5 m, each of which is assigned a lithological class. The primary aim of the developed model is to provide geological insight for regional pre-prospective purposes and spatial planning within the region covered by loess deposits. A deterministic and cognitive modelling process was adopted, which was the result after weighting factors like quality, quantity and distribution of the available data, time and budget given for the modelling process and the eventual model's use. In addition, this paper outlines the set-up of the "mineral resource explorer" launched by the government of Flanders. This platform was developed with the aim of efficiently distributing the information present in the voxel model to the wider public. This explorer interactively allows end-users to query the dataset and hence obtain information on the presence of potential extractable loess material. Users are able to set a number of relevant built-in preconditions, such as maximum thickness of cover and minimal thickness of resource deposits, and indicative resource volumes can be calculated.

Keywords

3d interpolationmineral resourcesloessvoxel model