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Applications of Google Earth Pro to fracture and fault studies of Laramide anticlines in the Rocky Mountain foreland

By
David R. Lageson
David R. Lageson
Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717, USA
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Martin C. Larsen
Martin C. Larsen
Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717, USA
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Helen B. Lynn
Helen B. Lynn
Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717, USA
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Whitney A. Treadway
Whitney A. Treadway
Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717, USA
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Published:
October 01, 2012

Google Earth Pro imagery was used by graduate students for a course project to identify, describe, and interpret lineament patterns on two oil-producing anticlines in Wyoming, one in the northwest Wind River Basin and the other in the southern Bighorn Basin (Maverick Springs and Thermopolis anticlines, respectively). These anticlines lie on opposite sides of the east-west–trending Owl Creek arch, which is a sinistral, transpressive array of en echelon, basement-involved thrust blocks. Both anticlines are well-exposed and display extensive near-surface fracturing and faulting, making them ideal candidates for a study of fold-related lineament patterns. Google Earth Pro was used to map and measure the orientation of lineaments and faults in a digital format. The lineaments identified include a set parallel to dip (A–C), a set parallel to strike (B–C), and two sets oblique to strike. Lineament orientation data were analyzed using length-weighted rose diagrams, whereas fold geometry and plunge were evaluated using equal-area (lower hemisphere) stereonets. Although the study was limited in scope to a computer-based geometric analysis and did not include outcrop-based kinematic data, the lineament/fracture data derived from Google Earth mapping are nevertheless compatible with published studies that demonstrate regional NE-SW shortening along the western Owl Creek transpressive zone during the Laramide orogeny. Google Earth Pro proved to be a highly effective tool for gathering lineament orientation and spatial distribution data across these well-exposed anticlines.

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GSA Special Papers

Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research

Steven J. Whitmeyer
Steven J. Whitmeyer
Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, Memorial Hall, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807, USA
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John E. Bailey
John E. Bailey
Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic Planning, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709, USA
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Declan G. De Paor
Declan G. De Paor
Department of Physics, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA
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Tina Ornduff
Tina Ornduff
Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View, California 94043, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
492
ISBN print:
9780813724928
Publication date:
October 01, 2012

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