GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 354-13
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


PITTS, Alan1, BENTLEY, Callan2 and DI CELMA, Claudio1, (1)School of Science and Technology - Geology Division, University of Camerino, Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 19f, Camerino, 62032, Italy, (2)Geology program, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA 22652,

Technology relating to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, is rapidly becoming more accessible and available as a solution for obtaining geologic field data. UAV’s versatility, ease of use, and ability to obtain views and perspectives of outcrops otherwise unachievable make this approach useful for many different geoscience disciplines. Using Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry methods, collections of overlapping UAV-based images can be compiled to form 3D digital surface models, which enables detailed inspection of outcrops and landscapes. These resulting 3D outcrop surface models can be manipulated and analyzed using various software packages, in order to extract quantitative geologic data such as bedding thickness, and orientations and geometries of lithological bodies. This study aims to illustrate how drone-based photogrammetry can be used to assess stratigraphic architecture at both the bed-scale and outcrop-scale in various sedimentary systems. We present a suite of digital outcrop sections from the upper Paleozoic strata exposed in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia and Apennine Mountains of Central Italy, which record different sedimentary environments, from deep water marine, shallow water marine, and fluvial systems.

The online digital version of these presented materials will be incorporated into a previous Virtual Field Trip Experience (Pitts 2015) covering the same area. These, along with other associated digital geologic resources are accessible to the public for educational or research purposes as part of the Google Earth for On-site and Distance Education project (GEODE, DUE 1323419).