2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


ABDELSALAM, Mohamed G., Geoscience, Univ of Texas at Dallas, 2601 North Floyd Rd, PO Box 830688, Richardson, TX 75083-0688, AIKEN, Carlos C.V., Department of Geosciences, Univ of Texas at Dallas, 2601 N. Floyd Road, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, TX 75083-0688 and XU, Xueming, Center for Lithosheric Studies, Univ. of Texas at Dallas, 2601 N. Floyd RD, Richardson, TX 75074, abdels@utdallas.edu

Elements of three-dimensionality should be reflected in the Earth Science educational environment specially structural geology since the world is three-dimensional (3D) and the future of geosciences will be increasingly quantitative. At present, geosciences educators dominantly rely on two-dimensional (2D) photographs of outcrops and/or simple idealized block diagram to discuss fundamental concepts in structural geology. 3D visualization will always be a fundamental part of teaching structural geology and it has always been a challenging task for educators as well as students, especially in teaching structural geology. The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has applied digital methodology to capture geological outcrop photo-realistically in 3D, bringing the outcrop into a computer for visualization and further analysis. We have accomplished a series of these photo-realistic outcrops representing different geologic environments. Our cybermapping method is used for data acquisition and accurately draping photography onto centimeter- to decimeter-scale digital terrain models generated by reflectorless laser mapping. The photo-realistic outcrops can be imported and displayed in 3D virtual visualization systems at several commercial and academic virtual sites such as the Cave Automatic Virtual Environments (CAVES) and the GeoWall allowing virtual measurements of structural elements such as strike and dip of planar fabric and trend and plunge of linear fabric. Projects include the Austin Chalk in Texas, the Jackfork Sandstone at Big Rock Quarry in Arkansas, Pennsylvanian listric faults Mingus Formation in Mineral Wells, Texas, deltaic deposits of the Panther Tongue of north central Utah, the Ainsa Basin of Spain, the Capistrano Formation at San Clemente Beach, California, and Blacks Beach deepwater deposits at La Jolla, California. In addition, we are currently involved in digitally capturing a number of outcrops that can be used for teaching geometrical aspects of angular unconformities, folding and faulting using the outcrops in the Arbuckle Mountains and the Broken Bow Uplift in Oklahoma. These outcrops have been used by us and other universities and adding the cybermapping element will make these outcrops more effective in teaching structural geology.