• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


BOGGS, Katherine and THOMPSON, Robin, Earth Sciences, Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate sw, Calgary, AB T3E 6K6, Canada,

Three dimensional geology of the Canadian Cordilleran is shown here using Google Earth Science (GES), student geological field maps and cross-sections, and Geologic Survey of Canada (GSC) geological maps and cross-sections. Student field work during the Mount Royal University (MRU; Calgary, Alberta) introductory field school (start of second year in the MRU BSc Geology Major program) outlined the Grotto Creek anticline-syncline pair and thrust fault in the Devonian-Mississippian stratigraphy of the Exshaw Thrust Sheet that are not depicted on the smaller scale GSC map. A previous student geological map and cross-section (Fell, 2008) was used to create a COLLADA model and terrain overlay. During an in-class exercise, the model is used to illustrate the 3D interaction between topography, geological maps, and cross-sections. Gigapans of the Exshaw roadcut (in this map) and petrology illustrate the features that the students are expected to observe and describe. This GES model is then used during the fall term in Structural Geology and Minerals and Rocks to illustrate the link between different scale features and the 3D visualization of faults/folds. In addition to clarifying learning outcomes, this approach is also designed to prevent the ‘cram and dump’ approach and promote the benefits of tactile learning.

The power of such GES approaches is further illustrated in the unraveling of more antiform-synform pairs in the Proterozoic Miette Group (Icefields Parkway turn-off, Lake Louise, Alberta) and Cambrian Chancellor Formation (Natural Bridge, Field, BC) that are not in the small scale GSC maps. Combining Google Earth and gigapan images highlight the importance of accurately observing, measuring, and recording these small features when examining the much larger features illustrated in the GSC maps. These GES models can be used virtually by other universities in the virtual field trips that are currently being developed throughout the Canadian Cordillera.

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