How To Export Diagrams From RockWorks16 Into Google Earth

Two new videos showing how to export diagrams from RockWorks16 into Google Earth have been uploaded to YouTube.  The short version is 2 minutes and skips all of the “how-it-works” information.  The long version is 12 minutes and provides a description of what goes on “behind the scenes”.

Please note that these videos do not cover the EarthApps portion of RockWorks which directly exports to Google Earth.  Instead, these videos show how to export existing 2-D diagrams (maps, profiles and sections) from RockPlot2D and 3-D diagrams (logs and block models) from RockPlot3D into Google Earth.

Short Version:

Extended Version:


Examples of Non-English Text Output Provided by RockWorks16’s Unicode Support


Strange Log Appears Far Above Other Logs When Hanging Section on Selected Stratigraphic Horizon


If you’re hanging a section relative to a stratigraphic horizon within RockWorks16, and you see a strange log floating way above all of the other logs, here’s what’s going on …

The offending borehole does not contain any reference to the stratigraphic unit (in this example, the top of the Potosi Formation) that was selected as the datum.  As a consequence, it remains at it’s correct structural elevation while all of the other logs have been vertically offset such that the datum contact is adjusted to an elevation of zero.  In other words, the program is working just fine – but a fat lot of good that will get you.

Here’s the solution …

Step 1.  Zoom in on the offending log …


Step 2.  Make note of the log ID.  In this case, that’s “DH-05”.  This, of course, assumes that you have elected to plot the log titles within your cross section.  If not, turn on the titles and try again.

Step 3.  Uncheck the offending log within the Borehole Manager database.


4.  Re-run the cross-section program …


5.  Be happy.


New Video Using Multi-Seam Coal Data to Demonstrate RockWare Command Language (RCL) Scripting

New Video: Using the RockWare Command Language (RCL) to Automate Cross-Section Generation

Adding External Surfaces to a Borehole-Based Stratigraphy Model

RockWorks contains a number of tools which allow you to create a stratigraphy model from borehole data, then introduce additional surfaces to the model based on surveys or proposed excavations. This example is based on an inquiry from a customer who is modeling an existing fill site, in which there are borings surrounding the fill, but none inside. They have surface models of the fill base and fill top which they want to add to the borehole-based stratigraphy model, constraining those borehole surfaces with the fill surfaces.

Step 1: Create the RockWorks project and enter the borehole-based data

Create a new project in RockWorks, and import your borehole data (File | Import menu). Or, create the borehole records manually (Edit | New Borehole) and enter the stratigraphy data into the borehole manager: depth to formation top, depth to formation base, and formation name for each recorded unit in the borehole. The formation names are defined in the Stratigraphy Types table.

Here’s a Striplogs | 3D | Multiple Logs view of these stratigraphy logs.


Step 2: Establish the Output Dimensions

Once the borehole location and stratigraphy data have been entered, click the Scan Boreholes button at the bottom of the program window to automatically determine the coordinate extents for the project. (You can also just type these in, if you prefer.) Be sure to check the node spacing along the X and Y axes – this will determine how coarse or fine your grid models will be. (We generally recommend a node spacing that’s no greater than half the average distance between the boreholes.)  Here is how the Output Dimensions might look:


Step 3: Create a Stratigraphy Model of the borehole-based data

Use the Borehole Manager | Stratigraphy | Model menu option to create surface models (aka “grid models” or “grids”) for the top and base of each stratigraphy formation and display them in the 3D plotting window. This project-wide and interactive view of the model allows you to drill down into the model to see how well the surfaces match the borehole data (be sure to turn on the Plot Logs option to display your stratigraphy logs in the 3D display). You can zoom into the display, rotate it, etc.


If you are not satisfied with the way the model looks, how it honors the log data, etc., you can adjust the gridding method and other model settings and click Process again to regenerate the grid models and the 3D scene.

Note: the automatic naming scheme for these grids is “formation_top.rwgrd” and “formation_base.rwgrd” for each formation name in your project.  You’ll see these grid names in the Project Manager / Grid Models heading.

Step 4: Create/Import the Fill Grid Models

Once you have a good model of the borehole data, the next step is to create or import the grids representing the fill. If you have XYZ points for the ground and base elevations of the fill, you can enter/import those data into the Utilities datasheet and use the Utilities | Map | Grid-Based Map menu to create the surface models.

Or, if you have existing grids from another software program, you can use the Utilities | Grid | Import menu to convert them into a RockWorks “.rwgrd” format. If necessary, use the Utilities | Grid | Math | Resample menu to resample these imported grids to match the extents and node spacing of your project’s Output Dimensions. It’s important that all of the grids to be incorporated into the final stratigraphic model have the same dimensions.

Important: Name these grid models using the RockWorks naming convention: “Fill_top.rwgrd” and “Fill_base.rwgrd”

Here’s an example of how these surfaces might look in the 3D viewer:


Step 5: Display the stratigraphy grids and fill base grid in cross section

This step will let you visualize the stratigraphic layers which will need to be constrained by the fill grids. Jump back to the Borehole Manager and use the Stratigraphy | Section menu to create a cross section diagram through the middle of the fill area.

BE SURE to turn Interpolate Surfaces OFF– you’ve already created a good stratigraphic model so you don’t need to keep recreating the grids.
BE SURE to turn Plot Surface Profile ON, choosing the Fill_base.rwgrd as the grid model to be displayed with the profile line.

Use the Section Selection Map tab to draw a cross-section trace through the middle of the fill area. In the resulting cross section, make note of the stratigraphic layers which are impacted by the fill and those which are not.


Repeat if you like, for another cross-section trace.


Step 6: Constrain the stratigraphy grids with the fill base

Jump back to the Utilities program tab. Use the Grid | Filters | Limit program to impose a “high-stop” filter on the top grid of your first formation, based on the Fill_Base.rwgrd file. Set the Truncation Type to “Grid A Node = Grid B Node”.


This means that any nodes in this grid surface that stick up above the Fill_base grid are to be assigned the elevation of the Fill_base grid. You can set the output name to the original grid name. Do this for each formation_top and formation_base grid that is impacted by the fill layer.

Tip: Use an RCL script to automate this! Here’s an example.


(RCL scripts require Level 5 licensing in RockWorks16.)

Step 7: Add the Fill layer to your Stratigraphy Types table

Use the Project Manager to access the Project Tables / Types Tables / Stratigraphy Types, and add a new formation, “Fill”, with a color of your choice, as the first unit in the project. Even though you don’t have any fill layers in your boreholes, this now tricks RockWorks into incorporating the Fill top and base grids into the model.


Step 8: Recreate your cross section with the Fill grids and the filtered grids

Use Stratigraphy | Section to recreate the cross section from Step 5 being VERY SURE that Interpolate Surfaces is OFF. This assures that RockWorks will read the existing (filtered) grid models for all of the formations in the Stratigraphy Types table.

section1_BYou can create other Stratigraphy menu diagram with these same surfaces.

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Master Directory of RockWare YouTube Videos

The YouTube playlists have proven to be somewhat cumbersome, so we have created a hyper-linked master index that makes it easier to find content.  Check it out …


RockWare YouTube Video Index URL:

Exporting Lithologic Surfaces to DXF

As RockWorks view the world, lithology materials are not necessarily layered – they can repeat within a single borehole and may be inconsistent in sequence across the project area. As such, RockWorks uses a solid modeling process, rather than surface-modeling, to create lithology models, with the 3D nodes or voxels assigned a material type and represented in the 3D viewer as color-coded blocks.

RockWorks software: Lithology Model in RockPlot3D

Lithology Model in RockPlot3D

This presents a challenge, then, for users who wish to view lithologic SURFACES as plan-view contour maps, or in 3D, or exported to CAD.

In RockPlot3D you can access the lithology model’s Options window and filter the display for the desired material type, or range of types. Here is the above model filtered to display the Soil voxels only.

RockWorks software: Lithology Model Filtered for Soil Only

Lithology Model Filtered for Soil Only

This can be exported to DXF, but note that you’ll be getting all of the blocks representing that material. (Shown here in black and white for contrast purposes.)

RockWorks software: Lithology Model Soil Voxels Exported to DXF

Lithology Model Soil Voxels Exported to DXF

If you need a surface rather than blocks, RockWorks also has tools which will fit a surface to the uppermost elevations or the lowermost elevations of a rock type in a lithology model. These are in the Lithology | Superface (Top) and Subface (Base) menus. Here is an example of the same soil lithotype extracted as a surface (upper elevations), and displayed in RockPlot3D and then exported to DXF.

RockWare software: Surface Representing Top of Soil

Surface Representing Top of Soil, Displayed in RockPlot3D

RockWare software: DXF Surface Representing Top of Soil

DXF Surface Representing Top of Soil

Calculating the Volume of a Stratigraphic Unit within a Polygonal Boundary

A customer recently sent this inquiry to our support staff:
Q: Can I calculate the volume of a stratigraphic unit within an outline that doesn’t match the model extents and is not square?
A: There are a couple of ways to do this.
First, create a Polygon Table in your project database (see the Misc. Project Tables in the Project Manager) that represents the outline of the area you’re interested in.  You can hand-enter the XY coordinates into the Polygon Table, paste them in, or even draw a polygon in RockPlot2D onto a map and save those coordinates to the Table.  Then, here are some options:
1. Isopach Grid Model, Automatic:  Use the Stratigraphy / Stratigraphic Thickness / 2D menu option to interpolate a thickness grid for a selected formation (it does this by gridding the formation top and base, then subtracting the base surface from the top surface). BE SURE to activate the Save Grid Model option and assign the thickness grid model a name (e.g. formation_a_thickness.grd).  Then clip this grid model using your Polygon Table (Utilities Grid / Filters / Polygon Clip), setting the filter type to Exterior with replacement=null.  (e.g. formation_a_thickness_clipped.grd). You can turn on the Create Grid Statistics Report option, and the volume of the grid will be displayed at the bottom of this report:
Cell Area .............................. 100.0
Map Area (X*Y) ......................... 738,000.0
Grid Area (Sum(Cell Area)).............. 755,300.0
Model Volume (Sum(Cell Area*Z)) ........ 5,493,616.411554  *
Non-Zero node area ..................... 119,600.0
2. Isopach Grid Model, Manual:  If you don’t want the program to reinterpolate the formation top/base to generate the isopach grid (e.g. you already have top and base surfaces that you’re pleased with), you can use the Utilities Grid / Math / Grid & Grid Math tool to subtract your existing base surface from the top surface, generating a thickness grid.  Then clip this model with the polygon and generate the report, as described above.
3. Solid Model:  You can create a solid block model (MOD) of your surface-based stratigraphy model by running the Stratigraphy / Model option and activating the Save Numeric Model option and entering a name (e.g. strat_solid_model.mod).
NOTE: if you don’t want to re-interpolate the stratigraphic surfaces – you want the program to build the solid using your already-interpolated grids – be sure to turn OFF the Interpolate Surfaces option.  Then RockWorks will just build a block model of your stratigraphy.
ANOTHER NOTE: How well this block model will represent your stratigraphy surfaces (and how good the volume computation will be) will depend on the vertical node spacing defined in your project dimensions.  If you have skinny units, be sure the vertical spacing of the nodes is tight enough to represent them to your satisfaction.  Generally surface-based computations will be more accurate.
Here’s a surface-based strat model (left) and a voxel representation of a solid stratigraphy model (right), for your reference:
Once you have the solid strat model generated, you can clip that solid model using a polygon which represents the outline (Utilities Solid / Filter / Polygon Clip), replacing the nodes outside the polygon with null (e.g. strat_solid_model_clipped.mod).  Then, you can use the Stratigraphy / Volumetrics Based on Solid Model option to generate a report from that clipped model.
Or you can simply view the clipped model in RockPlot3D as a voxel model, adjust the viewing filter for a specific unit, and see the volume there.