Application of GIS technology to extrapolate structures in rocks from Wisconsin's ancient mountains
The goal of this project is to integrate geographical information system (GIS) into contemporary structural geology research. GIS is commonly used in earth science applications including geologic mapping, watershed management, and environmental impact assessments. Here it will be used in small-scale rock deformation studies. The granitic rocks exposed near Mountain WI deformed deep within the crust approximately 1.8 billion years ago during a plate tectonic collision known as the Penokean Orogeny, and contain small, interconnected shear zones. Where observable, the shear zones, associated fabrics, and related features will be traced onto large plastic sheets and located precisely using Global Positioning System (GPS) and surveying. The sheets will be digitized and input into ArcGIS" and analyzed. In particular, we will see if GIS and spatial analyses can be used to extrapolate fabrics and shear zones where actual data may not be available due to lack of exposure. Students will have the opportunity to learn many skills including: innovative use of modern data gathering technology such as GPS in field-oriented geologic research, hands-on GIS experience in a research environment, and in-depth exposure to the tectonic processes that formed North America and particularly Wisconsin.