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Using the 3-D Perspective of Carbonate Outcrops for Improved Visualization and Interrogation of Spatial Patterns

Bellian, Jerome A.*1; Harris, Paul (Mitch) 1; Ellis, James 2
(1) Carbonate R&D, Chevron ETC, San Ramon, CA.
(2) Ellis Geospatial, Walnut Creek, CA.

We are experimenting with anaglyphs created for carbonate outcrops to test visualization methodologies that may add value to field work and/or field trips that do not require electricity, are portable, rugged, and reusable. The area of interest for this project is the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, and in particular the Permian Reef Geology Trail (PRGT) located in McKittrick Canyon.

Anaglyphs are produced by systematically offsetting features seen in a 2-D image based on their elevation. The elevation is derived from a digital elevation model (DEM). When the anaglyph is viewed with red/cyan glasses, the human brain can perceive “3D.” The advantage of this technology is that it can be reproduced on standard color printers at low cost and presents an immersive graphical experience for the user. When high spatial-resolution imagery and DEMs (i.e., sub-meter pixels or cells) are used to build the anaglyphs, the viewer can inspect outcrops from only a few meters away “live” and then zoom out via anaglyph print to better understand the spatial context and geological relationships of the outcrop-scale features.

In this study, the PRGT was chosen for its open access as part of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and its exceptional exposure of mixed carbonate and siliciclastic platform to basin deposits through parts of two depositional sequences. The PRGT anaglyphs were generated from an airborne lidar dataset acquired by The University of Texas Department of Geosciences, The Bureau of Economic Geology, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and Statoil in 2008 as part of a joint research project to better understand regional and high-resolution relationships of the Guadalupe and Delaware Mountain structure and stratigraphy. The lidar data were acquired from both down-looking and side-looking lidar scans and have a maximum spatial resolution of ~70 cm for over 1000 square km. The lidar data were textured with high-resolution (30 cm) air photos from the Federal Department of Agriculture and provide additional detail for geologic interpretation.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90142 © 2012 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, April 22-25, 2012, Long Beach, California