In the INSPIRE context the Geology data theme can be seen as a "reference data theme” as it provides information for several other INSPIRE data themes e.g. Mineral resources; Area Management, Restriction and Regulation Zones; Natural Risk Zones; Soil; Energy resources. In Geology there is a specific relationship with one of the most important natural resources, water, through groundwater bodies contained in aquifers. The theme also covers geomorphology that describes the Earth’s present-day surface, and the location of the geophysical campaigns and measurements that provide valuable information on the physical properties of rocks (like density, porosity, magnetic susceptibility, etc.) regardless of their organization as geologic units.
The INSPIRE Geology Theme is split into the following sub-themes:
• Geology: provides basic knowledge about the physical properties and composition of geologic materials (rocks and sediments), their structure and their age as depicted in geological maps, as well as landforms (geomorphological features). The model also covers boreholes - another important source of information for interpreting the subsurface geology.
• Hydrogeology: describes the flow, occurrence, and behaviour of water in the subsurface environment. The two basic elements are the rock system (including aquifers) and the groundwater system (including groundwater bodies). Man-made or natural hydrogeological objects/features (such as groundwater wells and natural springs) are also included.
• Geophysics: focuses on the availability and location of key geophysical features. It includes metadata on high rank gravity, magnetic and seismological stations that are part of international and national observation networks as well as metadata on 2D and 3D seismic measurements that are most often requested by third party users. It also provides collective metadata on gravity, magnetic and airborne geophysical campaigns that cover large areas and provide basic geological information for scientific research and more detailed applied studies e.g. exploring earth resources (hydrocarbons, mineral deposits, ground water, geothermal energy...).