3D geological modeling based on structural data from surface outcrops has become a useful tool for assessing the overall geology of investigated sites and to assist conventional exploration methods for complex tectonic areas. In addition, integration with deep subsurface investigations from, e.g., boreholes and seismic profiles, is required to obtain information on geological boundaries and a complete image of geological structures. This relies on intensive data integration from different sources, which are then combined together inside digital models of the subsurface. An important component of such modelling workflows is to constrain the geological configuration not only in terms of their geometrical characteristics, but also in terms of their constitutive physical properties to move from static images of the subsurface to dynamic representations of the processes occurring there.
An essential step towards consistent three-dimensional models is to correctly map the density distribution of the different rock compartments by quantifying the gravitational response of such density distribution, comparing it with the observed gravity and minimizing the objective misfit function between the modelled and observed gravity. A correct integration of such 3D gravity modeling with detailed geophysical surveys can then allow to arrive at a better characterization of the main geological structures, providing a geologically and geophysically consistent playground for dynamic modelling studies of the same area. Different methods and related software solutions exist to assist scientists in delineating first-order density contrasts with the aim of improving the overall geological model. Despite commonalities, these approaches present distinctive theoretical frameworks, being targeted to user assisted or automated forward modelling or (joint) gravity inversion techniques. By filling this position, we seek support in the goal to carry out a comparison of different existing software packages for 3D geology-based gravity modelling with the aim to quantify benefits and pitfalls of those techniques when applied to complex geological settings.
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