Northeastern Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (12–14 March 2007)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-4:45 PM


SHUFELDT, Owen1, STIEFEL, David1, FICHTER, Lynn2, PYLE, Eric J.3 and WHITMEYER, Steve2, (1)Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, (2)Dept. of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, (3)Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807,

Modern education is moving towards digital mediums for teaching and understanding subjects. Classroom instruction has shifted from the use of blackboards and overheads to PowerPoint presentations, and most schools have computers available for student use. The interactivity of digital mediums is becoming a staple for improved learning of many subjects. The Earth sciences have lagged behind other sciences in the availability of interactive mediums to enhance learning in the classroom. The few interactive programs and models available at any level, are lacking in accuracy and therefore give false impressions and distorted views of the subjects that they are attempting to teach. Typical examples of these distortions usually involve faulty spatial relations and exaggerated scales. This project addresses these problems in the form of a user friendly program that exhibits a scaled digital cross-section of a volcanic island arc system, complete with interactive capability, to demonstrate many of the processes and facies that go into creating and defining this tectonic environment. The program will be accessible and informative to both secondary education and introductory undergraduate classes.

The final product is a multilayered, scaled cross section of a complete island arc system. Type examples used for research (e.g Marianas system, Aleutian arc) are at an average scale of around 300km from trench to backarc basin. To accommodate for scale differences the program has zoom features that have the ability to show the overall system as well as specific details in the form of layers demonstrating geologic facies, structural features, isotherms and isobars. The detailed sections and animations emphasize the geology and processes inherent in the system and therefore incorporate exaggerations that will be explicitly confined, but are necessary to effectively present the concepts. The user-friendly interface is created with a standard programming language that is universally available and lends itself to both students and professionals. The program is intended to be able to reach a multitude of age levels with its ease of use and ability to selectively incorporate as much or as little depth depending on the amount of detail sought.