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Creating interactive 3-D block diagrams from geologic maps and cross-sections

Paul Karabinos
Creating interactive 3-D block diagrams from geologic maps and cross-sections (in Google Earth and virtual visualizations in geoscience education and research, Steven J. Whitmeyer (editor), John E. Bailey (editor), Declan G. De Paor (editor) and Tina Ornduff (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (October 2012) 492: 235-251

Abstract

Geologic maps and cross-sections effectively summarize the structural geology of a region, but they can be difficult for non-geologists to interpret. Textbooks and interpretive guides commonly integrate maps and cross-sections into static perspective block diagrams to help novices visualize basic concepts in geology. The inherent power of block diagrams, however, is dramatically increased by software such as Google SketchUp, a free downloadable program, which can create interactive 3-D models of a region. The stand-alone models can be Rotated, Panned, and Zoomed by the user and exported for animations. An efficient way to create block diagrams is to combine the individual strengths of dedicated GIS software with SketchUp, and merge the results into a single 3-D model. Effective 3-D block diagrams drape a geologic map on a digital elevation model and show how the map and cross-sections connect at the topographic surface. Creating block diagrams in such a way that portions of the map between cross-section planes are independent segments gives the user flexibility to make portions of the map invisible. By "turning off" parts of the surface, it is possible to sequentially reveal multiple cross-sections. 3-D block diagrams help students and non-specialists visualize geologic structures. Once created, the 3-D block diagrams can be quickly edited by substituting alternate images of geologic maps and cross-sections. Thus they provide an elegant approach for comparing different interpretations of a region. Combined with tools available in SketchUp, they also provide geologists with a valuable resource for assessing the geometric plausibility of geologic cross-sections.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 492
Title: Creating interactive 3-D block diagrams from geologic maps and cross-sections
Title: Google Earth and virtual visualizations in geoscience education and research
Author(s): Karabinos, Paul
Author(s): Whitmeyer, Steven J.editor
Author(s): Bailey, John E.editor
Author(s): De Paor, Declan G.editor
Author(s): Ornduff, Tinaeditor
Affiliation: Williams College, Department of Geosciences, Williamstown, MA, United States
Affiliation: James Madison University, Department of Geology, Harrisonburg, VA, United States
Pages: 235-251
Published: 201210
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-2492-8
Meeting name: 2011 GSA Penrose conference, Google Earth and virtual visualizations in geoscience education and research
Meeting location: Mountain View, CA, USA, United States
Meeting date: 20110104Jan. 4-8, 2011
References: 12
Accession Number: 2013-010890
Categories: Geologic maps
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. block diags.
N43°12'00" - N43°58'00", W72°58'00" - W72°12'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA, United StatesOld Dominion University, USA, United StatesGoogle, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201308
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