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Enhancing Spatial Reasoning and Visualization Skills Using Field Data, Analog Modeling and Digital Visualization Software

Caroline M. Burberry
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NB, USA

Abstract

Given that deformation styles vary in space, both along the strike of a deformed belt and along the strike of individual structures within that belt, understanding the spatial relationships in deformed belts becomes a specific skill to be mastered. Traditionally, variation in deformation style is visualized with a series of closely spaced 2D cross-sections. However, the use of 2D section lines implies plane strain along those lines, the true 3D nature of the deformation is not necessarily captured and spatial cognitive reasoning is not always invoked. By using a combination of remotely sensed data, analog modeling of field datasets and this remote data, and numerical and digital visualization of the finished model, a 3D understanding and restoration of the deformation style within the region can be achieved.

The workflow used for this study begins by considering the variation in deformation style which can be observed from satellite images and combining this data with traditional field data, in order to understand the deformation in the region under consideration. The conceptual model developed at this stage is then modeled using a sand and silicone modeling system, where the kinematics and dynamics of the deformation processes can be examined. A series of closely-spaced cross-sections, as well as 3D images of the deformation, are created from the analog model, and input into a digital visualization and modeling system for restoration. In this fashion, the process of spatial reasoning and 3D visualization can be learned and a valid 3D model is created where the internal structure of the deformed system can be visualized and mined for information. The region used in the study is the Sawtooth Range, Montana.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #120140© 2014 AAPG Hedberg Conference 3D Structural Geologic Interpretation: Earth, Mind and Machine, June 23-27, 2013, Reno, Nevada