Making the most of Leapfrog for flow modelling: Part 1

By Jason McIntosh

Simulating fluid flow, mass and heat transfer requires the synthesis of geological models with a multitude of parameters, the process is complex. So how can Leapfrogs modelling functionality be used to streamline it? 

Interoperability with FEFLOW and MODFLOW allows Leapfrog Hydro, Geothermal and Hydrology module users to interpolate initial simulation parameters and apply them to geologically constrained finite element and finite difference grids. For the purpose of this blog I will demonstrate the capabilities by modelling an aquifer system in Leapfrog Geo, simulating it in FEFLOW and viewing the time series in Leapfrog.

Aquifer systems are comprised of permeable porous water bearing aquifers and impermeable aquitards. Both have variable permeability and porosity within the sedimentary units they are comprised of, the units themselves pinch-out and diverge within stratified layers of sediment. Stratified drift aquifers are among the most challenging of such systems, as a result of the complex depositional environments they derive from.

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The Leapfrog Team

This is the final history blog in a six part series – The Leapfrog Team. If you missed part five, Gaining Acceptance, you can find it here.

Many of the original development team still work for ARANZ Geo, all adding their substantial knowledge and experience to the mix.  Many joined as students in the early days to advance the RBF mathematics and software that is Leapfrog’s engine, FastRBF™.  ARANZ Geo founder, Rick Fright describes it as a ‘blend of expertise’ and a ‘combination of experts all at the top of their game’, many in between working at University College London or Cambridge University. Fundamentally the common theme was that they were Kiwi’s, many friends from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

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Gaining acceptance

This is the fifth history blog in a six part series. If you missed part four, Leapfrog’s Fast RBF™, you can find it here.

In 2004, following successful testing and use of the initial product by SRK Consulting, ARANZ Geo was formed to begin the marketing and further development of the product to the mining industry. Leapfrog Mining was born.

Too fast!

But in the early days Leapfrog® struggled to be accepted. Says Rick Fright, “People didn’t take it seriously because it was just too fast!  And it was too isotropic, it didn’t take into account folding strata.”

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Implicit modelling – an insider’s guide

Leapfrog software has always set the standard in geological modelling. This began 11 years ago when we pioneered the 3D implicit modelling approach.Implicit Modelling - an insider's guide

3D implicit modelling is now used by all the major mining companies across the globe as well as firms in the groundwater contamination and geothermal industries. It is quickly becoming the preferred method of modelling geological data and we expect this will continue into the future.

Geologists find using implicit modelling software enables quick and efficient creation of 3D models enabling them to explore multiple geological scenarios, communicate complex information and ultimately reduce risk and better inform the decision making process.

But what exactly is implicit modelling?

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Leapfrog’s Fast RBF™

This is the fourth history blog in a six part series – Leapfrog’s fast RBF. If you missed part three, Modelling in full 3D, you can find it here.

In 1999 work began on new surfacing algorithms so that an RBF implicit model could be utilised by conventional computer graphics packages. This meant converting an implicit RBF model into meshes of triangles and piecewise continuous spline surfaces.

The main difference between traditional RBF’s and what became ARANZ’s FastRBF™ is the ability to deal with large datasets of well over 1,000,000 points on ordinary computing hardware incredibly quickly. The maths used to speed up the calculation was initially used in particle physics. Filtering and approximation methods make Fast RBF™ ideal for visualising and processing non-uniformly sampled noisy data. FastRBF™ has extraordinary extrapolation capabilities, even when large gaps occur in a data set.

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Modelling in full 3D

This is the third history blog in a six part series – Modelling in full 3D. If you missed part two, Medicine, movies and outer space!, you can find it here.

In 1996 in pursuit of more mathematically robust meshes ARANZ rekindled their close collaboration with mathematician Rick Beatson. This motivated the extension of his fast RBF methods to modelling full 3D data and a new way of describing the surfaces of objects implicitly using a ‘signed-distance’ function.

Says ARANZ Geo founder Rick Fright, “Having got the scanner working, and gathered scattered point measurements from the surface of a 3D object, we realised we had an even bigger problem of reconstructing a complete and continuous surface model. So we got back in touch with Rick Beatson.”

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Medicine, movies and outer space!

Leapfrog in Medicine, Movies and Outer Space

This is the second history blog in a six part series. If you missed part one, In the beginning, you can find it here.

In 1995, the success of the 3D ultrasound and laser scanning research prompted Rick Fright to start Applied Research Associates Ltd (ARANZ) along with friend and former fellow student Bruce McCallum (Electrical Eng.), Mark Nixon (medical doctor) and Brent Price (from Med Physics). Together they hit on the idea of a hand-held portable laser scanner, which allowed almost any solid object’s surface to be acquired and represented, initially, as a mesh of triangles.

A hand-held portable laser scanner being used on a troll model for Lord of the Rings.

A hand-held portable laser scanner being used on a troll model for Lord of the Rings.

These meshes were adequate for many applications, including the movie industry, where the scanner was very successful in computer animation and utilised in numerous films from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to the Star Wars prequels.

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In the beginning

Leapfrog are excited to post for you a series of six blogs that map our company’s progress. To start off the first blog, Carrie Beckwith, talks to Rick Fright about how Leapfrog® came about – in the beginning.

The story Rick’s telling includes engineers, mathematicians, geologists  and computer science graduates, which he describes as a ‘unique blend of expertise’, many friends from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and many still actively involved in taking the product forward. I’m marvelling at the man-hours Leapfrog’s development must have accrued and the ‘ground breaking’ that went on to create the intuitive modelling tool geologists rely on today. Our conversation is unearthing a passion and excitement for developing new technology through research.

But how did this software first come about? How did something initially from the medical industry end up being so successful in mining?

In the beginning – titanium cranioplasty

Rick takes me back to 1991 and the Medical Physics & Bioengineering department of Canterbury Hospital in Christchurch New Zealand. Rick was working on a Wellcome Trust research grant to automate the design and production of titanium plates for neurosurgeons. Rick had heard about the work of another Rick (Beatson) a mathematician from the nearby University of Canterbury’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, who’d developed new fast 2D methods using radial basis functions. At this time, Engineering Ph.D. student Jonathan Carr also became involved and the three set about solving the cranioplasty problem. Together they produced mathematics and software to interpolate the shape of the skull across the void of the missing area. This is basically the same way Leapfrog models topographies today.

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Optimum performance with Leapfrog projects

By Tim Schurr

Have you noticed the “.aproj_data” folder that always appears along-side your Leapfrog project file?

 aproj_data-folder in Leapfrog Geo

If you’ve ever had to move or copy a project to another location, you’ve probably come across it, opened folder using explorer and discovered a whole raft of sub-folders and files and thought “What’s all of this?  Is this really my Leapfrog project?”

.aproj_data folder beside Leapfrog project

In this article, I will explain the reason why Leapfrog saves projects in seemingly such a bizarre way, then I’ll give you a couple of tricks on how to get the best performance and reliability out of your Leapfrog projects.

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Creating accurate vein systems from complex data

By Jason McIntosh

Modelling multiple thin intersecting veins in 3D can be an arduous task, luckily the Leapfrog vein modelling tool is perfect for visualising thin intersecting vein systems. Complex vein systems are common in many geological settings, but for the purpose of this blog I’m going to focus on shear zone vein systems. So bear with me as I attempt to sum up the characteristics of metalliferous shear zone ore deposits and how they can be modelled using Leapfrog Geo in an easily digestible blog.

A shear zone is a discontinuity surface in the Earth’s crust and upper mantle. Depending on the characteristics of the shear zone genesis and later regional tectonics, shear zones can form economic gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc and molybdenum deposits. However, the formation of large mineral deposits is dependent on a number of factors.

Shear zones form in brittle/ductile transition zones as metamorphic facies are uplifted during orogenic collisions. They are mineralized throughout successive cycles consisting of increased and decreased fluid pressure phases. Metamorphic compression pressurizes the fluid and seismic activity reduces the pressure by allowing the fluid to invade the country rock along grain boundaries and fractures. The successive cycles allow fluid to disperse and regenerate, therefore allowing for incremental precipitation of incompatible elements such as gold within fractures and along grain boundaries.

Characteristic veins within the Brittle-Ductile transition zone. (Image sourced from USGS).

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