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Visualization of the El Berrocal granite: application to rock engineering

Engineering Geology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0013-7952(97)00048-3
  • Earth Science
  • Engineering


Abstract This paper outlines the visualization of the El Berrocal granite using a computer-based geological modelling system, EarthVision, and discusses the application of this visualization to engineering aspects of waste disposal in crystalline rocks. The El Berrocal Project was an international study with the aim of understanding and modelling the migration processes which have controlled the distribution of naturally occurring radionuclides in a fractured granitic environment. EarthVision was used to provide three-dimensional geological models of the site structure and properties. Modelling of the site structure concentrated on the development of visualizations of the main discontinuities in the granite. These included a model of the main mineralized structures, a model of the regional fracture network, models of local fracture networks between borehole clusters and a visualization of the mineralogy of the fractures in individual boreholes. These fracture models were visualized with the boreholes and access gallery to the mine. In addition, the fracture network in the region of a large scale tracer test was visualized with the injection and extraction zones for the tracer test. Three-dimensional interpolations of the rock and fluid structure were undertaken. A model of the hydraulic conductivity illustrated large-scale variations in hydraulic conductivity and channelling effects in the tracer test zone. A model of the sulphate concentrations in the groundwater illustrated the interpolation of spatial data based on structural domains. The visualizations of the geology of the El Berrocal granite illustrate that, despite limitations, geological modelling can be a powerful and graphic tool in rock engineering. The use of computer visualizations can be provide the three-dimensional structural framework for computations, can aid decision making during the construction phase of waste repositories and can be useful in understanding and analysing the results of numerical calculations.

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