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Geologists use virtual reality to study quakes

 

Narrator:          This is Science Today. Geologists at the University of California, Davis, are using virtual reality to study earthquakes, including the recent quake in Japan. At the Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences, geologists can view aerial and satellite photos, as well as laser scans of the ground, to gain a better understanding of the Earth's activities.

Cowgill:            It creates a virtual environment, an immersive virtual environment, that we can step into and visit a model of a landscape and therefore conduct virtual geologic investigations of a field area without going to that site.

Narrator:          Geologist Eric Cowgill says they're able to study large amounts of data and do things that are impossible in the field.

Cowgill:            Like we can make ourselves 20 stories high so we have an overview of the landscape, or we can rapidly fly along a fault as if we were in a helicopter and then take our helicopter and fly inside the Earth to look at the Earth from the bottom.

Narrator:          For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.