Southeastern Section - 63rd Annual Meeting (10–11 April 2014)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:25 AM


KAUFMAN, Alan J., Geology Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, ROHRBACK, Robin, Northern Virginia Community College, 8333 Little River Turnpike, MSE Division, Annandale, VA 22003 and BENTLEY, Callan, Geology, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA 22003,

Ultra-high resolution images created with GigaPan technology provide a vehicle to explore the geology and paleontology of ancient surface environments worldwide from the comfort of the classroom, office, or dorm. For teaching and outreach purposes, a large collection of Precambrian hand samples have been imaged for the MAGIC (Mid-Atlantic Geo-Imagery Collection) project using Northern Virginia Community College's GIGAmacro Professional Photography System. Examples document 1) redox changes across the Archean-Proterozoic transition associated with the Great Oxidation Event; 2) Neoproterozoic climatic and environmental perturbations associated with the Snowball Earth; and 3) biological innovations across the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary. In addition, GigaPan visualization using an EPIC robotic camera mount and GigaPan STITCH software of lagerstätten surfaces representing in-situ death assemblages of the Ediacara biota in Newfoundland were created to quantify population and distribution statistics. Insofar as detailed observations at various scales are required for interpretation of sedimentary environments, GigaPan images have also been created of outcrops, hand samples, and thin sections related to field trips and laboratory exercises in the University of Maryland Principles of Sedimentation and Stratigraphy course. These on-line images (available at the click of a mouse) enhance student observational capabilities and stimulate lecture and laboratory discussions. By combining the ultra-high resolution views – ranging from sub-millimeter details seen in thin sections to images of strata extending for hundreds of meters – in the same lecture, students are provided with a clear linkage between detailed observation and interpretation of depositional environments. Students in the Sedimentation and Stratigraphy course use GigaPan imagery during their end-term presentations to create virtual field trips of outcrops and samples observed during the semester as review material for their final examination.