Day #80 Outcrop: The Whaleback

As it happens, the very first GigaPan I ever made was of the folds exposed in the east face of the Bear Valley Coal Mine, near Shamokin, Pennsylvania. That GigaPan was stitched from about a dozen hand-held shots, before I owned a GigaPan robot, and barley met the minimum size threshold of 50 megapixels.

This past summer I had the opportunity to get back to the mine and shoot a much larger GigaPan in the mine with a brand new GigaPan Epic 100 robot. This time, I also composed a shot that captured not only the beautiful anticline-syncline pair in the east wall of the mine, but also the pièce de résistance for any geologist visiting the mine – the Whaleback. This remarkable anticline – exposed by strip mining of anthracite coal – is a Mecca for structural geologists.

The GigaPan below is over 5 gigapixels in size and composed of 1320 individual input images – it took over an hour and a quarter to shoot. The old version of GigaPan Stitcher crashed every time I tried stitching this image, but the recently updated GigaPan Stitch 1.0 software was able to finish the job in merely 7 hours.

I know there are some very detailed diagrams in the literature of the small scale structural features of the Whaleback (e.g., joints). I’m eager to learn whether my structural geologist colleagues think there’s enough detail in this GigaPan to make this image useful for teaching more than just basic structural concepts. If so, I’d be eager to work with you to develop web-based exercises around this GigaPan.

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Explore this and all of my 2010 Deskcrops and Outcrops in Google Earth!

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