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4D Subsurface Modelling: Predicting the Future

20 - 21 February 2019
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Geological Society Events
The Geological Society, Burlington House
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As geoscientists, we strive for an integrated view of the Earth beneath our feet. This novel event examines what can be gained from building subsurface models through time and seeks to explore lessons that can be shared across a number of industry sectors:

Mining - Oil & Gas - Civil Engineering - Geothermal

Equally, how challenges, such as sufficient framing, choice of analytical or deterministic methods, composition of integrated team of experts, data availability etc. can be tackled to ensure maximum value is derived. We intend this workshop to offer a unique opportunity for creative minds within these industries to present new perspectives, state-of-the-art technology and capabilities. In addition, a chance for personal interaction between experts from widely different industry sectors in constructive, cross-disciplinary discussions that will lead to fresh insights, collaborations and working relationships.

Key points we aim to address:

1. Purpose of a 3D Model through Time 

    • What do we seek to achieve by repeatedly building a model in 3D? 
    • What decisions does such a model impact upon in each industry? 

 2. State-of-play in 4D Modelling 

    • How does each sector frame 4D modelling? What are the characteristic time-steps involved?
    •  What is the state of progress in each sector and where are the greatest advances? 

3. Seeking Value from the Model 

    • How do we assure the right knowledge is generated, preserved & applied from a 4D model?
    •  How do we capture uncertainties, avoid cognitive traps and better assure value from 4D models? 

4. Strength in Robust Inputs & Collaboration 

    • Where are the greatest bottlenecks in acquiring robust data and achieving reliable results? 
    • What ensures collaboration in building shared models that can be multi-scale and robust?

A workshop for Petroleum, Mining and Civil Engineering

To enable and manage this ambitious process, we capture our current thinking in the form of models, each one shaped by the problem it is specifically built to examine, the techniques that will inform it and the mindset of the people that will build it.

A comprehensive model of the Earth’s subsurface will want to account for:
  • Structural history that provides the geological framework & wider regional context
  • Effects of past & present stress fields & resultant pore pressure regime
  • Mechanical properties of the observed lithologies & regoliths
  • Genetic processes that have led to the deposition of lithologies
  • Distribution of relevant minerals within any commercial deposit & their quality
  • Actions of all fluids likely to be present & their reactions with lithology
  • Quality & distribution of data available seeking to discern the subsurface
  • Uncertainties inherent in techniques & theories used as premises for interpretation
  • Changes induced through modification of the volume of interest by human activities 
This pioneering event examines current approaches and the vulnerabilities they create for high quality depictions of the subsurface in industrial contexts, the decisions we need to make about it, and our ability to accurately predict its future evolution.

In this forum earth scientists building virtual representations of their target environment share ideas with the engineers who build structures in response to them and managers who make decisions based on them. 

The event is also designed to build on previous related GSL events to continue to raise debate on how and why we build such depictions of the subsurface, the nature of inter-disciplinary interaction that goes on around them, and their effectiveness in risk mitigation and value creation.

Conference objective

As geoscientists, we strive for an integrated view of the Earth beneath our feet. Yet, barriers are created by technical disciplines, prevailing methods and data availability. This unique workshop examines what can be gained from building shared models through time and how challenges that lie in their way can be overcome.

By inviting subsurface professionals - engineers and geoscientists - from the three industrial sectors of mining, civil engineering and energy (petroleum, geothermal, gas storage), we aim to not only bridge technical silos within given sectors but across industries to seek better approaches to geomodelling through time and optimising its value for its customers in engineering.

Who should attend?

  • Professional geomodellers from the worlds of mining, civil engineering, petroleum and geothermal
  • Any geoscientist or geo-engineer working in these industries interested in the present and the future of subsurface modelling in 3D through time
  • Technical leads, project or asset managers wanting a better understanding of what geomodelling can offer for the future of their areas of responsibility
  • Researchers investigating the capabilities and potential of modelling the subsurface for industrial application


To register please contact

Keynote Speakers


"Challenges and Opportunities in 4D Modelling and Data Management for Geohazard Assessment"

John McGaughey, President Mira Geoscience


"Modelling and Monitoring Reservoirs over their Lifetimes"

Michael Oristaglio, Director Energy Studies/Project Manager, Yale University/SEG SEAM Corporation


“The Geothermal Space: what‘s in it for me?”

Clare Baxter, International Geothermal Assoc

National Surveys

"Modelling the Solid Earth - a Geological Survey Perspective"

Katherine Royse, Director GeoAnalytics and Modelling, British Geological Survey


"3D holographic visualisation of 4D data"

Matt Lato, Senior Geotechnical Engineer, BGC Engineering

Civil Engineering

“4D ground modelling in civil engineering – recent developments”

Rob Talby, Mott MacDonald


John Booth (Geotechnics) GSL Science Committee Advisor
Glen Burridge (Glen Burridge & Associates) - Co-chair
Thomas Finkbeiner (KAUST) - Co-chair
Jorg Herwanger (MP Geomechanics)
Wolfgang Hohl (Hohlraum ZT)
Richard Plumb (Plumb Geomechanics) - Co-chair
Katherine Royse (British Geological Survey)
Benedikt Steiner (Camborne School of Mines)


Registration rates

£ 120.00
£ 170.00
£ 120.00
£ 120.00
£ 120.00
£ 20.00
£ 70.00

Geolsoc Contact


Burlington House