The terms isopach and isopach map are incorrectly used interchangeably to describe isochores and isochore maps. Isopachs and isochores are equivalent only. Commonly, the isopachs, or contours that make up an isopach map, display the See: contour, contour interval, contour map, formation, isochore, reservoir. true vertical thickness is an isochore map. Note that in common practice, isochore maps are informally referred to as “isopach” maps.

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And that wouldn’t necessarily be a huge problem, if I didn’t suspect that it reveals a basic misunderstanding of what has been mapped.

Isopach map

So, thanks for the nice tutorial. I’ve tried in the past isochire correct an isochore map to an isopach map by multiplying by the cosine of the dip. This sounds easy enough, but it doesn’t make for a perfect correction, because it’s not always obvious how to compute the dip upper surface? Best to correct at the wells, then interpolate. You mention a very good issue If we consider vertical thickness in an isochore map, we can only project a given value to a single point in the surface.

But, as you say, the problem comes with real thickness. Where do we project that value? Vertically from the top? Thanks for the comments, is very welcome!

Structural Geology: Isopach maps vs isochore maps

Excellent description of a basic and critical facet of geology as it relates to mapping analysis. Thanks a lot for a clear explanation. My problem is I am not able to visualize the isopach map. The way its drawn is fine with me but how to see the contours whether projected on surface or direct subsurface projection. Please help me understand. Isochore Map is the term adapted in my reports since This after I read a similar article differentiating Isochore vs Isopach.

I have a question though, if the upper and lower bounds are non-parallel, is it safe to say that one cannot create an isopach map of the structure, because we would either be measuring a point perpendicular to the upper or lower bound, but not to both. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.


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Isopach map – Wikipedia

Thickness maps are a fundamental tool in structural geology. They represent thickness variations and thickness trends of a given unit. Isochore and isopach maps are two different types of thickness map. To make it clear from the beginning: An isopach is a line that connects points of equal true thickness i.

Well 1 cuts the yellow bed at a higher angle than well 3and therefore, the vertical thickness found in well 1 is larger than in well 3. Anf 2 cuts the bed where is horizontal, and therefore the vertical thickness equals the real thickness. The real thickness of the yellow bed is constant: If we would do an isopach map of the yellow unit, it would show a constant value of m, isochode this unit doesn’t show any thickness true variation It would be a pretty boring map: But it would be telling us quite a lot already; for starting, we could think we are dealing with a parallel fold formed by flexural flow for example.


Isochore map for the yellow unit in figure 1. Figure 2 shows the isochore map -contours for equal vertical thickness- for the yellow bed depicted in figure 1. Red colour indicates minimum vertical thickness, whilst purple shows maximum value. You can see that it shows what you can see in the cross section: We can see that the difference between an isopach map and an isochore map is quite obvious and simple to understand.

Unfortunately, some people interchange both isopavh, and too many times we can see isochore maps refered to as “isopach maps” If we would get the map from figure 2and somebody would tell us that this is a isopach map over and anticline, we could wrongly conclude that the real thickness around the hinge line of the fold is smaller than in the flanks, and we would probably think that we have jsopach front of us as growth anticline, for example.

Applied Subsurface Geological Mapping by Daniel J.Tearpock, Richard E. Bischke

Another error may come from working with seismic surveys and not realising that if you take a surface representing a top unit, and you substract another surface representing a bottom unit, the result is a isochore map, not a isopach map.

Better not even to know it!

And this is considering that everytime we read a vertical thickness in a well log the well was actually vertical and not deviated at all. If you take a surface representing a top unit, and you substract another surface representing a bottom unit, the result is a isochore map, not a isopach map. If you have any question, just ask in the comments. If you have any lsochore for a new article, just let me know.

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