Structure Contours on Non-planar Surfaces

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Most geologic structures are not ideal planes, and structure contours on these structures are often neither straight nor equally-spaced. In fact, structure contours can violate many of the rules we are familiar with on topographic maps.

In the example we consider here, we will be concerned only with data that is fairly well-behaved: smooth, with no overhangs or discontinuities. The problem is very similar to contouring topographic data.

Some Rules for Construction


1. Contour the data shown

2. Interpolate between nearby points. Avoid extremely long-distance interpolations.

3. Sometimes it pays to treat the data as a series of three-point problems.

4. Once you have a clear mental picture of the structure, construct smooth contours to fit the data.

Additional Notes on the Example

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Created 5 January 1999, Last Update 5 January 1999
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