|Abstract||Increasing pressures on natural resources in the 21st century require reassessment of the geological framework necessary to successfully manage land use planning issues and economic development. In
formerly glaciated terrains, surficial sediments commonly host much of the groundwater resources that sustain agriculture, industry, potable water, shallow, low-temperature geothermal systems, and, groundwater is also critical to ecosystem health.
There is increasing concern about contamination of shallow potable water from alternative energy developments (e.g. shale gas) and how climate change may impact the availability and quality of groundwater. To address these issues, there is a need to
develop a data-driven, 3D framework for surficial geology in Canada, which captures, develops, manages, and disseminates related data and knowledge, including 3D geological models. Notably, to address various jurisdictional responsibilities and to
optimize scarce financial and human resources, progress can be most efficiently advanced through inter-governmental and inter-disciplinary collaboration.|
The surficial geology of Canada is diverse and has complex stratigraphy. There is variable,
intense, land use pressure on surface sediment. It is thus reasonable to assume that no single methodology should be used for mapping surficial geology in 3D, even though some materials exist across diverse geological settings. Approaches might vary
across settings; however, common data and methodological frameworks can be utilized. A common data framework includes a data model covering the breadth of input data and output models, a well-structured science language aligned with national and
international standards, development of an appropriate metadata structure, and, the capture of key stratigraphic and ancillary legacy data. A common science framework then includes development of conceptual geological models that are supported by an
understanding of the geological processes responsible for the development of individual geological terrains. This will provide the necessary insight to support stratigraphic classifications, which will further facilitate integration of disparate
(e.g. geophysical) data, legacy data (e.g., geotechnical logs) and low quality archival data (e.g. water well records).
An approach is presented that builds on parsing the Canadian landscape into distinct geological domains, (e.g., Precambrian
Shield, Phanerozoic basins, orogenic belts) each of which is supported by an idealized stratigraphic succession. A workflow is reviewed for 3D mapping with two different approaches to model development based on: i) stratigraphic complexity, ii)
sediment thickness, and iii) availability of subsurface data. For large areas of the Canadian Shield with limited subsurface data, a knowledge-driven approach, relying primarily on landforms and surficial mapping, is employed. The approach taken for
a 32,000 km2 area of the Slave Province in NWT will be previewed. For areas of thicker sediment (i.e., up to 200 m) that have more abundant subsurface information, a data-driven approach is taken. A number of work flows have been employed in mapping
areas ranging up to 240,000 km2 in southern Canada by academic, private sector, and government agencies. Several of these methods will be reviewed and assessed based on their operational functionality for mapping large areas and multi-jurisdictional