The geological layers making up Denmark were deposited at different times and in different environments. The layers have different properties and contain or constitute different resources of vital importance to the economy and functioning of modern society. Denmark relies on unpolluted groundwater for drinking water and we exploit raw materials such as sand, gravel, clay and chalk for building and construction works. We also use the geological layers for energy purposes, e.g. extracting and storing heat. In order to manage, utilise and protect the many resources in the Danish subsurface, we require a detailed map of the geological layers, their distribution and location, as well as their interconnected structural composition.
GEUS’ activities in brief
GEUS is working to provide solid knowledge about the the geological structure of Denmark and to assess land use for various purposes. Geological mapping is one of the key activities, although work also involves assessing the significance of the geology e.g. for radon in buildings and the safety aspects of depositing waste.
Geological maps for spatial planning and land management
Geological maps are an important tool in spatial planning and land management, and they are used in connection with many technical projects. GEUS regularly carries out geological mapping in different parts of Denmark. The areas are selected to fulfill society’s needs for geological data, e.g. in connection with groundwater extraction, raw materials extraction, afforestation, as well as extraction and storage of heat. The national surface geological map is one of the products applied in land management in Denmark. All new mapping results are regularly digitised and stored in GEUS’ map database.
Geological specialist data centre
GEUS collects geological data from various types of survey in Denmark in national databases, and GEUS is therefore Denmark's geological memory bank.
Geological data from water wells, raw material boreholes and geotechnical wells throughout Denmark are reported to GEUS. The well sample laboratory receives and describes more than 13,000 soil samples annually, and these descriptions are included in the national Jupiter well database, which contains information about more than 240,000 wells into the Danish subsurface.
Furthermore, GEUS runs the national database of geological models, which contains information about the geology of Denmark, as well as the national geophysical database, GERDA, which contains information from various geophysical surveys. The data in the two databases primarily originate from national groundwater surveys.
Geology in 3D
GEUS commenced development of a concept to build a nationwide digital 3D geological model to provide the best possible foundation for administration, protection and utilisation of groundwater and other geological resources, e.g. raw materials. A digital geological basic model for Denmark will make it possible to set up geological models on several scales and with a high degree of accuracy, at high, international level.
One aim of the model is to integrate well data, geophysics, geochemistry, etc. with GEUS' ongoing Quaternary geological surface mapping and marine seabed mapping. At the same time, the idea is to incorporate interpretations from detailed local geological models, which have been prepared as part of national groundwater surveys, as well as knowledge about the deep subsurface.
Geological areas of special interest
The Danish landscape includes geological areas of great value. GEUS participate in designating areas of special, geological value, which need to be protected and preserved.