Transition probability-based stochastic geological modeling using airborne geophysical data and borehole data

Xin He, Julian Koch, Torben O. Sonnenborg, Flemming Jørgensen, Cyril Schamper, Jens Christian Refsgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Geological heterogeneity is a very important factor to consider when developing geological models for hydrological purposes. Using statistically based stochastic geological simulations, the spatial heterogeneity in such models can be accounted for. However, various types of uncertainties are associated with both the geostatistical method and the observation data. In the present study, TProGS is used as the geostatistical modeling tool to simulate structural heterogeneity for glacial deposits in a head water catchment in Denmark. The focus is on how the observation data uncertainty can be incorporated in the stochastic simulation process. The study uses two types of observation data: borehole data and airborne geophysical data. It is commonly acknowledged that the density of the borehole data is usually too sparse to characterize the horizontal heterogeneity. The use of geophysical data gives an unprecedented opportunity to obtain high-resolution information and thus to identify geostatistical properties more accurately especially in the horizontal direction. However, since such data are not a direct measurement of the lithology, larger uncertainty of point estimates can be expected as compared to the use of borehole data. We have proposed a histogram probability matching method in order to link the information on resistivity to hydrofacies, while considering the data uncertainty at the same time. Transition probabilities and Markov Chain models are established using the transformed geophysical data. It is shown that such transformation is in fact practical; however, the cutoff value for dividing the resistivity data into facies is difficult to determine. The simulated geological realizations indicate significant differences of spatial structure depending on the type of conditioning data selected. It is to our knowledge the first time that grid-to-grid airborne geophysical data including the data uncertainty are used in conditional geostatistical simulations in TProGS. Therefore, it provides valuable insights regarding the advantages and challenges of using such comprehensive data. Key Points The relation between resistivity data and geological units is largely uncertain AEM data show advantage for transition probability in the horizontal direction The selection of conditioning method is critical for geostatistical simulations

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3147-3169
Number of pages23
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • AEM data
  • geological model uncertainty
  • SkyTEM survey
  • soft conditioning
  • stochastic simulations
  • TProGS

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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