MITs lab. of sedimentology makes combinational research between sedimentology and digital computing. My intentests have focused on that yet.
MITs Digital Geology is the application of new technologies to geological field studies. Geological processes occur in three dimensions, but for geologists it is commonly difficult or impossible to capture and analyze data from complex or mountain-sized outcrops in three dimensions. For the development and testing of process models of stratigraphic development as well as the application of these models to understanding heterogeneity in petroleum and groundwater reservoirs, it is increasingly important to obtain high-resolution, three-dimensional data from outcrops.
Digital data acquisition systems (e.g., differential GPS, laser-range finder) have notably improved in usability and decreased in cost in the last decade, and can significantly enhance quantitative geologic mapping. There are many advantages of digital-data collection. Each three-dimensional data point can be tagged with multiple geological attributes (e.g., grain size, facies, lithology, fossil type, stratigraphic surface, etc.). The digital data can be quickly visualized and analyzed in three-dimensions. The length scales of geometrical relationships defined by facies or stratal boundaries can be easily quantified. Finally, quantitative digital-field datasets can be directly incorporated in quantitative stratigraphic or reservoir models.
The data acquisition system includes realtime kinematic GPS receivers (Trimble 4700 GPS receiver) and a total station that includes laser distance measurements with or without surveying reflectors (Trimble TTS-300 total station). With both of these systems, relative positional accuracy is approximately 2-5 cm horizontally, and 5-10 cm vertically. The absolute positional accuracy (i.e., in world map coordinates) is approximately 20 cm.
Data points are normally collected every 2 meters. Each three-dimensional data point that is collected is tagged with multiple geological attributes (e.g., lithofacies, lithology, stratigraphic-surface name, sedimentary structure, etc.). The data is loaded in a modeling package (in our case PETREL). With this package, the data are visualized, mapped and modeled in 3D.
The field areas that were digitally mapped are the terminal Proterozoic of the Nama Group, Namibia, and the Devonian of the Canning Basin, Australia.