It can be hard to imagine what the world below ground actually looks like. However, the BGS is launching 14 geological visualisation models to provide a unique 3D view of the structures and geological units that make up the upper 1.5km of the UK's crust. Delivered in a PDF format and available to download from the BGS website, the ‘GV models' bring to life the 3D nature of our Earth by providing an interactive format to enhance conceptual understanding of the UK's geology.
The GV models allow the user to explore the world below ground in a number of ways — zooming in and out, rotating the view, highlighting different geological sections and querying key information. A detailed legend provides information on each geological unit in the model, such as the age and type of rock, revealing the hidden structure of the underground.
Constructed from the 1:625 000-scale bedrock geology map and the UK3D national fence diagram of cross-sections, the GV models cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland (with models for Scotland planned). They represent a step change in open-access 3D geoscience resources for the UK and complement other regional information resources the BGS delivers, such as the British Regional Geology (Regional Guides) series and the Regional Summaries.
Dr Katie Whitbread, BGS National Geological Model project manager, said: "3D geology opens up the complex world beneath our feet in a way that can be easily understood. The 3D models may help professionals working in industry and environmental regulation, as well as providing tools for public engagement and teaching. But these open-access tools are there for everyone to explore and discover, whatever your interest in the subsurface."