Direct Multiple-Point Geostatistical Simulation of Edge Properties for Modeling Thin Irregularly Shaped Surfaces

Marijke Huysmans, Alain Dassargues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Thin, irregularly shaped surfaces such as clay drapes often have a major control on flow and transport in heterogeneous porous media. Clay drapes are often complex, curvilinear three-dimensional surfaces and display a very complex spatial distribution. Variogram-based stochastic approaches are also often not able to describe the spatial distribution of clay drapes since complex, curvilinear, continuous, and interconnected structures cannot be characterized using only two-point statistics. Multiple-point geostatistics aims to overcome the limitations of the variogram. The premise of multiple-point geostatistics is to move beyond two-point correlations between variables and to obtain (cross) correlation moments at three or more locations at a time using training images to characterize the patterns of geological heterogeneity. Multiple-point geostatistics can reproduce thin irregularly shaped surfaces such as clay drapes, but this is often computationally very intensive. This paper describes and applies a methodology to simulate thin, irregularly shaped surfaces with a smaller CPU and RAM demand than the conventional multiple-point statistical methods. The proposed method uses edge properties for indicating the presence of thin irregularly shaped surfaces. Instead of pixel values, edge properties indicating the presence of irregularly shaped surfaces are simulated using snesim. This method allows direct simulation of edge properties instead of pixel properties to make it possible to perform multiple-point geostatistical simulations with a larger cell size and thus a smaller computation time and memory demand. This method is particularly valuable for three-dimensional applications of multiple-point geostatistics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-536
Number of pages16
JournalMathematical Geosciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Groundwater flow
  • Heterogeneity
  • Multiple-point geostatistics
  • Snesim
  • Solute transport
  • Training image


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