27 October 2015

Corridor H virtual field experience

Posted by Callan Bentley

My Historical Geology class was in for a new experience for the semester’s capstone field trip. Before we headed out into the field (to the exceptional roadcuts along Corridor H in Grant and Hardy Counties, West Virginia), we had them examine all the outcrops virtually, in the comfort of the classroom, using digital imagery. I say “we” because this initiative was a collaboration with my colleague Alan Pitts, who developed the Corridor H virtual field experience (VFE) as an ancillary project associated with his pre-GSA field trip to Corridor H (Trip #408). Alan is a long-term collaborator on my GigaPan project, the Mid-Atlantic Geo-Image Collection, and he’s responsible for making dozens of GigaPans of the roadcuts on Corridor H. Alan used Team M.A.G.I.C.’s huge collection of GigaPans from that road, and embedded them all in a single Google Earth ‘tour’ for geographic context. We had the students complete the associated assignment in class in groups last Wednesday, and then headed out into the field on Saturday.

We had them evaluate this GigaPan in class, for instance:

And then took them to the site:


Likewise, we had them examine this outcrop of Pennsylvanian sandstones, shales, and coals first in the virtual realm, and then later in person.



We conducted informal interviews during the in-class session, after concluding the virtual field trip experience, and polled the students after the real field trip. Alan will also be sharing another less-local-student-focused version of the VFE with his GSA field trip participants. He will present the results of both of these applications of the Corridor H VFE on Sunday at the meeting of the Geological Society of America in Baltimore. If you will be at the meeting and wish to learn more, please join us for Alan’s talk.