Automatic Generation of Geological Stories from a Single Sketch

Maxime Garcia, Marie-Paule Cani, Rémi Ronfard, Claude Gout, Christian Perrenoud

Expressive 2018.

From left… to right, the original terrain from several million years ago undergoes events that will transform it to its current state. From right to left…, the current terrain is restored and undergoes undo events that will transform it back to its original state. Th‡e bottom and top parts show di‚fferent restoration paths.


Describing the history of a terrain from a vertical geological cross-section is an important problem in geology, called geological restoration. Designing the sequential evolution of the geometry is usually done manually, involving many trials and errors. In this work, we recast this problem as a storyboarding problem, where the diierent stages in the restoration are automatically generated as storyboard panels and displayed as geological stories. Our system allows geologists to interactively explore multiple scenarios by selecting plausible geological event sequences and backward simulating them at interactive rate, causing the terrain layers to be progressively un-deposited, un-eroded, un-compacted, unfolded and un-faulted. Storyboard sketches are generated along the way. When a restoration is complete, the storyboard panels can be used for automatically generating a forward animation of the terrain history, enabling quick visualization and validation of hypotheses. As a proof-of-concept, we describe how our system was used by geologists to restore and animate cross-sections in real examples at various spatial and temporal scales and with diierent levels of complexity, including the Chartreuse region in the French Alps.