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

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


REYNOLDS, Stephen J., COYAN, Joshua A., JOHNSON, Julia K. and LEEDY, Debra E., Dept. of Geological Sciences, Arizona State Univ, Dept. Geol Sciences - 1404, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, sreynolds@asu.edu

Geology students struggle with field proficiency because they have difficulty with topographic maps, with visualizing the interactions of 3D geometries with topography, and with drawing their first geologic contacts on a field map. To help students overcome these challenges, we have developed an array of interactive QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) movies to prepare students for the field. These animations are accessible at http://reynolds.asu.edu. Students begin with the Visualizing Topography module where they can interactively change the amount of shading in a black and white contour map, spin and tilt contour-draped terrains, slice into terrains to understand topographic profiles, and raise and lower virtual water levels on 3D terrains. Next, students develop explicit topographic location strategies by using QTVR movies with numbers draped on 3D terrains. This is followed by the interactive 3D Geologic Blocks module, with which students explore the 3D geometry of geologic structures. Using this module, students can (1) rotate and slice into blocks, (2) make the blocks partially transparent to reveal the internal 3D geometries, and (3) move faults, erode blocks, and uncover unconformities. Students then explore the interaction of layers and topography via QTVR movies that permit interactive tilting of layers intersecting topography. They draw their first contacts on paper by using movies with inclined layers intersecting 3D terrains draped with the same contours as on the paper map. This exercise provides an excellent bridge toward getting students to draw their first lines. Finally, students use QTVR movies of geologic maps draped over digital topography, either on the computer or on a GeoWall, to reconstruct geologic history and understand subsurface geometries from published maps. After using these various resources, students are better prepared for field work by being better able to visualize and map complex interactions between 3D geologic structures and the land surface.