To start with the actual question: What software was used to create these cross sections? (PDF, aprox. 10MB)


I have been really struggling to find a good software package that can generate professional cross sections. Most software focuses on 3D visualization but analysts want to see actual cross sections. I've already asked a similar question here but this time my requirements are more complex. Where before I only cared about visualization of straight-line boreholes now I need to visualize mining drillhole survey data within section slices of variable thickness. These drillholes are mostly inclined and curved, often slightly spiraled in attempts to intersect subsurface mineralized zones.

Basic Parameters:

  • Import drillhole and visualize drillhole surveys & data; collars, surveys, assays, lithology, etc.
  • Must support deviated and inclined drill holes
  • Create subsurface geology models from drillhole data and display on sections
  • Import and visualize 3D DXF and other 3D (Leapfrog) subsurface models in sectional view
  • Define section slices (variable thickness) in plan view
  • able to view sections from various directions (Looking North, South, any azimuth)
  • Edit completed section output (adjust labels, colors, layout)
  • 3D view and navigation is NOT necessary

It seems that the above linked sections satisfy all or most of these parameters. I would really appreciate If someone can suggest software that has these capabilities.

I've already tried and dismissed: Gemcom GEMS, Geosoft Target, CrossView for ArcGIS

Here is an example from the linked document. (Detour Gold Corporation): enter image description here

  • have you tried Rockworks? Aug 11, 2011 at 17:07
  • 3
    This may be a dumb question, but have you tried contacting Detour Gold to try and get in touch with some of their technical staff? Tell them you have really deep pockets :) Aug 11, 2011 at 17:12
  • @Chad - Not a dumb question. Unfortunately I work for a gold exploration company as well so in terms of ethics, I would not like to place contact at Detour Gold in a potential conflict of interest position. Aug 11, 2011 at 17:35
  • 3
    Datamine Studio 3 is listed in the jobs/careers..
    – Mapperz
    Aug 11, 2011 at 20:01
  • 1
    I am starting to think that there is no software that gen generate stratigraphy similar to that shown on the sections in the link dynamically. It must have been drawn manually for each section. After all these slices can then be used to generate 3D models. Maybe there is a lot more work involved then I think. Aug 12, 2011 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


I am not an expert in this area, but I did see a demonstration of Geosoft (I am thinking particularly of Target and GeoChem) products and it seems from an untrained eye that this might be similar to what you are looking for. Here is a link from their online magazine which is has some similar elements.


Hope this helps,


  • Thanks @CDBrown. Definitely not Target Geosoft. I have a Target license and this is not something it can do. I also evaluated the ArcGIS extensions but those were too buggy so I got the full version instead. I am pretty sure that the section has been created with Datamine Studio. (thanks to Mapperz' investigative work) However I also know now that no program can dynamically generate subsurface geology as shown above from drillhole assays alone. Its most likely created by slicing through existing 3D lithology models. Geosoft can do that but it's a cumbersome process. Sep 22, 2011 at 0:48
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    I did say not an expert :) A Qu for my own knowledge. If you were to generate Terrains in ArcGIS based on the points in the assays import each one into ArcMap in 2D and then use the Cross Section tool to output to a graph would this come even close?
    – CDBrown
    Sep 22, 2011 at 1:03
  • I managed to create fairly complex sections in ArcMap (using a variety of techniques) but it's very time consuming. The benefit to this approach is the superior layout and editing tools in ArcGIS. However, this only works for north-south and east-west sections. (and even that is not straight forward as i have to convert everything to points and project to those planes) I now have to do inclined section at a given azimuth and that is simply not possible in ArcGIS. I still use ArcMap though because geosoft allows me to export everything to shapefiles so i just do the final assembly in ArcMap. Sep 22, 2011 at 1:45
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    Thanks for the explanation, background context is always invaluable.
    – CDBrown
    Sep 22, 2011 at 7:01

You can make a cross section very similar to this in Vulcan; but in order to get the geology to come out this cleanly you need to cut a section and overlay it with coloured polygons. This is a time consuming process, but the end result is very satisfactory.


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