2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 192-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


KAIRIES BEATTY, Candace L., Department of Geoscience, Winona State University, Winona, MN 55987, ckairiesbeatty@winona.edu and BEATTY, William Lee, Department of Geoscience, Winona State University, 175 W. Mark St, Winona, MN 55987

The Battle of Gettysburg was the largest ever fought in North America and was a turning point of the Civil War. The three days of fighting were significantly influenced by the topography and geology of the farmland surrounding the small Pennsylvania town. This makes the battlefield an excellent venue for teaching the impacts of geology and landscapes on human history—in this case how events that occurred in the Mesozoic affected the outcome of the Civil War.

This project was developed as part of an effort to incorporate concepts of military geology and geography into an undergraduate geomorphology course to illustrate these impacts. By integrating traditional geologic mapping and field techniques with online high-resolution digital images, it moves beyond the idea of a “virtual field trip” into “virtual field work”, allowing students to conduct a field investigation at a location that is impractical to visit.

Digital images of the battlefield were acquired with both a standard digital camera and a GigaPan Epic robotic camera mount. After processing, high-resolution panoramas were uploaded to the GigaPan website (http://gigapan.org) and georeferenced using Google Earth.

In the classroom, rock samples, topographic maps, digital photographs, and georeferenced GigaPan panoramas are provided to the students. With these, they explore the battlefield following assigned field stops, compose field notes regarding geomorphic features and rock types, and compile information to create a basic geologic map of the area. They are then asked to connect the underlying geology to the evolution of the landscape and discuss how both of these influenced the tactics of the Union and Confederate Armies, the eventual outcome of the battle, and the roughly 50,000 casualties suffered by both sides.

Use of the GigaPan system was made possible by the Global Connection Project at Carnegie Mellon University and the Fine Outreach for Science.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 192--Booth# 363
From Virtual Globes to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in Geoscience Research, Education, and Outreach (Posters)
Oregon Convention Center: Hall A
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 500

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