Nav: Home

Virtual rocks: A new spin on virtual geology

July 28, 2016

Boulder, Colorado, USA - Over the past decade, the number of virtual field trips created to simulate in-person field excursions has grown, but one aspect of physical fieldwork is not commonly replicated: Virtual explorers do not often return to their desks with collections of virtual rocks. Three-dimensional virtual samples can enhance just about any geoscience activity, from online college courses to remote research collaboration.

Three-dimensional digital models of geological objects are relatively easy to create and geolocate on virtual globes such as Google Earth and Cesium. Emerging technologies allow the design of realistic virtual rocks with free or inexpensive software, relatively inexpensive 3D scanners and printers, and smartphone cameras linked to point-cloud computing services.

With interactive 3D digital models of rocks, minerals, fossils, drill core, geo-archaeological objects, and outcrops, designers and users can
  1. Reveal 3D features hidden inside solid specimens;
  2. Archive samples destined for destructive testing;
  3. Prepare for field trips and reinforce learning and retention after the fact;
  4. Aid peer-review and supplement electronic publications;
  5. Give access to geological materials for disabled and other non-traditional students; and
  6. Provide access to collections locked away in storage drawers, given that museums and other repositories display only a small fraction of their holdings.


Virtual rocks can also be gradually altered to illustrate geological processes, such as weathering, deformation, and metamorphic mineral growth.

This new GSA Today article by Declan G. De Paor of Old Dominion University surveys digital sampling applications in a wide range of geoscience subdisciplines and includes downloadable examples.
-end-
ARTICLE

Virtual Rocks
Declan G. De Paor, Department of Physics and Department of Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA. Pages 4-11; doi: 10.1130/GSATG257A.1.

All GSA Today articles are OPEN ACCESS online. Please discuss this article with the author(s) before publishing stories about their work, and please refer to GSA Today in articles published.

http://www.geosociety.org/

Geological Society of America

Related Collections Articles:

New species of crocodile discovered in museum collections
By looking at 90-year-old crocodile skulls in museum collections and double-checking with live specimens at a zoological park in Florida, researchers have just discovered a new species of ten-foot-long croc.
New water-beetle species show biodiversity still undiscovered in at-risk South American habitats
Researchers from the University of Kansas have described three genera and 17 new species of water scavenger beetles from the Guiana and Brazilian Shield regions of South America.
Scientists call for national science agenda for biodiversity collections
The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) has developed a national agenda that leverages digital data in biodiversity collections for new uses.
OU and Smithsonian address challenges of curating ancient biomolecules
University of Oklahoma researchers, led by Courtney Hofman and Rita Austin, in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, are addressing the challenges of curating ancient biomolecules and working toward the development and dissemination of best practices.
Critical collections
Harvard researchers are among the co-editors of a special issue of Philosophical Transactions B dedicated to exploring the creative ways in which researchers have made use of biological collections around the world and to advocating for their continued preservation.
More Collections News and Collections Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...