Three-dimensional geological model of quaternary sediments in Walworth County, Wisconsin, USA

Jodi Lau, Jason F. Thomason, David H. Malone, Eric W. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A three-dimensional (3D) geologic model was developed for Quaternary deposits in southern Walworth County, WI using Petrel, a software package primarily designed for use in the energy industry. The purpose of this research was to better delineate and characterize the shallow glacial deposits, which include multiple shallow sand and gravel aquifers. The 3D model of Walworth County was constructed using datasets such as the U.S. Geological Survey 30 m digital elevation model (DEM) of land surface, published maps of the regional surficial geology and bedrock topography, and a database of water-well records. Using 3D visualization and interpretation tools, more than 1400 lithostratigraphic picks were efficiently interpreted amongst 725 well records. The final 3D geologic model consisted of six Quaternary lithostratigraphic units and a bedrock horizon as the model base. The Quaternary units include in stratigraphic order from youngest to oldest: the New Berlin Member of the Holy Hill Formation, the Tiskilwa Member of the Zenda Formation, a Sub-Tiskilwa Sand/Gravel unit, theWalworth Formation, a Sub-Walworth Sand/Gravel unit, and a Pre-Illinoisan unit. Compared to previous studies, the results of this study indicate a more detailed distribution, thickness, and interconnectivity between shallow sand and gravel aquifers and their connectivity to shallow bedrock aquifers. This study can also help understand uncertainty within previous local groundwater-flow modeling studies and improve future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number32
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • 3D geologic model
  • Petrel
  • Quaternary
  • Sand and gravel resources
  • Wisconsin USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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