The topology of geology 1: Topological analysis

Samuel T. Thiele, Mark W. Jessell, Mark Lindsay, Vitaliy Ogarko, J. Florian Wellmann, Evren Pakyuz-Charrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


Topology has been used to characterise and quantify the properties of complex systems in a diverse range of scientific domains. This study explores the concept and applications of topological analysis in geology. We have developed an automatic system for extracting first order 2D topological information from geological maps, and 3D topological information from models built with the Noddy kinematic modelling system, and equivalent analyses should be possible for other implicit modelling systems. A method is presented for describing the spatial and temporal topology of geological models using a set of adjacency relationships that can be expressed as a topology network, thematic adjacency matrix or hive diagram. We define three types of spatial topology (cellular, structural and lithological) that allow us to analyse different aspects of the geology, and then apply them to investigate the geology of the Hamersley Basin, Western Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

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