October GEOSPHERE media highlights

October 28, 2005

Boulder, Colo. - The October issue of GEOSPHERE, published in electronic format only by the Geological Society of America, is now available online. Topics include new research and collaboration tools in paleontology and archaeology, as well as a new magnetic map of the Neopolitan volcanic region of Southern Italy.

Letter from Guest Editor:

Cinzia Cervato, Iowa State University, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011, USA. Page 60.

Chronos Introduction

Chronos is an open geoinformatics platform (http://www.chronos.org) for storing, accessing, and analyzing sedimentary geological, geochemical, and paleobiological data. Funded by the National Science Foundation, it supports research on topics such as evolution and diversity of life, climate change, geochemical cycles, paleoceanography, and other aspects of the earth system.




Software Contribution:

A collaborative system for sharing paleontology collections data
Kenneth G. Johnson, Natural History Museum, London, UK; et al. Pages 61-77.

Fossils are the fundamental data of paleontology, and collections of fossils held by museums and other public institutions are the primary repositories of these critical data. However, collections of fossils and associated information about taxonomy and stratigraphy are only useful if they are accessible to the research community. New advances in information technology are revolutionizing how museums can share information with a broad public audience. Most museums are currently developing systems to publish their data on the World Wide Web, but Johnson et al. believe that publishing is only one half of the problem-information should travel in two directions. Museums must provide researchers with convenient tools to add and update information held in museum catalogs so that the experts who use museum collections can take on some responsibility for maintaining and improving these valuable resources. In this paper, Johnson et al. outline the architecture and capabilities of a collaborative system developed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to collect and share paleontological collections data.




Software Contribution:

CHRONOS Age-Depth Plot: A Java application for stratigraphic data analysis
Geoffrey C. Bohling, Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66047, USA. Pages 78-84.

This paper describes a program for analyzing paleontological data. The data, which may be obtained over the Internet from the Chronos Neptune database or read from files on the user's own computer, describe estimated ages and depth below sea surface for fossils observed in cores of sea floor sediment obtained by research vessels. The Age-Depth Plot (ADP) program described here allows the user to draw a series of line segments representing the overall age-depth trend of the data, which usually exhibit some degree of scatter around the trend. The resulting "line of correlation" represents the investigator's estimate of sediment age versus depth below the sea floor. These estimates are needed to tie together events of the same age at different locations, allowing a more complete understanding of the sequence of geological events recorded in the sediments.




Research Paper:

The integration of magnetic data in the Neapolitan volcanic district
V. Paoletti, University of Naples, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Largo S. Marcellino, 10, Naples 84126, Italy; et al. Pages 85-96

Paoletti et al. present an example of integration of high-resolution airborne and marine magnetic data sets measured in the Neapolitan volcanic area, southern Italy. The integration produced a new, detailed draped magnetic map of the whole Neapolitan region. Analysis allowed the delineation of the geovolcanological and structural framework of the area.




Research Paper:

A community approach to data integration: Authorship and building meaningful links across diverse archaeological data sets
Eric Kansa, The Alexandria Archive Institute, San Francisco, CA 94127, USA. Pages 97-109.

Data collection practices in the field sciences can vary because of regional and disciplinary traditions. Methods, recording systems, and even vocabularies and terminologies often have little or no standardization. This diversity is a great challenge to our attempts to enhance communications between practicing scientists, especially in the area of sharing raw field data. This paper outlines approaches toward data sharing developed for archaeology, an inherently multidisciplinary science that sees important inputs from the earth sciences. This paper explores how individual researchers can more effectively share field data, even with little community-wide agreement on common vocabularies or recording methods. Because individuals are the key data providers, success in building data-sharing systems means that incentives and intellectual property concerns must be addressed.
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