Virtual Graphic Logs: applications for teaching and research

Professor Charlie Bristow – Birkbeck University of London

Virtual graphic logging is potentially a valuable resource for sedimentary research and teaching. One objective of a virtual graphic log is to provide training in key geological field skills in a classroom environment. Creating a graphic log involves observation, recording rock descriptions and is a precursor to facies analysis and the interpretation of depositional environments. Drawing a graphic log aids observational skills and recording of sedimentary rocks through experiential learning. The aim of a virtual log is not to replace field work, except in exceptional circumstances such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, but to enable students to learn key skills before they go into the field. The exercise also has the added long-term benefit of accommodating students with disabilities to cultivate a more inclusive classroom environment and diverse student population. For research, online storage of digital photographs makes it possible to store and share digital photographs that form the data required to create virtual graphic logs. The virtual logs provide a more open science approach to outcrop interpretation, enabling researchers to visit outcrops virtually and make their own descriptions and interpretations.

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