2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 219-2
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM

MICROFOSSILS IN 3D: SCANS, 3D-PDF, 3D-PRINTING


MAHMOOD, Shaun, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, TX 10024-5192, HUSSAINI, Bushra M., Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024-5192, HASIUK, Franciszek, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State Unversity, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011, SCHMIDT, Daniela N., Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom and THOMAS, Ellen, Geology and Geophysics and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Yale University and Wesleyan University, P O Box 208109, New Haven, CT 06520-8109, ellen.thomas@yale.edu

Marine microfossils and isotope and trace element compositions of their shells are widely used in reconstructing ancient environments on Earth, including ocean temperature, carbonate saturation, pH, polar ice sheet volume, oxygen levels, and oceanic productivity and circulation. Microfossils are thus used in documenting environmental changes and the ecosystem - evolutionary responses to changes ranging from asteroid impact (end Cretaceous) to global warming (end of the Paleocene) to global cooling (end of the Eocene), on times scales from instantaneous to millions of years. We must correctly identify morphological species not only to describe diversity and assemblage composition, but also to select specimens for geochemical - isotope analysis: vital effects depend on the analyzed species. Taxonomy of microfossils, especially of diverse deep-sea benthic foraminifera and ostracods, is far from settled. High-quality images of type material should be made available to the scientific community, so that taxonomic problems can be addressed using a wiki web application. We obtained 3D scans using synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) at the Tomographic Microscopy and Coherent Radiology Experiments (TOMCAT) beamline at the Swiss Light source, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villingen (Switserland), and X-ray computed tomography with the GEv|tome|x s 240, 180kv CT scan at the American Museum of Natural History. Both types of scans were used to create virtual models of microfossils. STL files were extracted using VGStudioMax 2.2, then Meshlab was used to convert raw STL files into 3uD files with associated javascript files. These were executed in LaTeX TexStudio (or Adobe Acrobat 8.0 or later) to create 3D pdf files which can be posted online, rotated and cross-sectioned by the user, used to look at internal structures, preservation of the test, and ontogenetic features, thus providing more information then use of a light microscope during a museum visit. The specimens can be 3-D printed (Makerbot Mini) either by using raw STL files or deriving one from the 3D-pdf. The printed models (including internal structure if wanted) are exciting to use in teaching and education - outreach programs. 3D scanning thus is expected to transform science itself, as well as science education and communication.
Handouts
  • GSA_Mahmood.pdf (11.6 MB)