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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Special Volumes


Memoir 111: 3-D Structural Interpretation: Earth, Mind, and Machine, 2016
Pages 173-189
DOI: 10.1306/13561992M1113675

Chapter 11: Earth, Mind, and Paper: Field Sketches as Expert Representations of the Hat Creek Fault Zone

Heather L. Petcovic, Carol J. Ormand, Bob Krantz


Sketching, particularly in field settings, is a common but powerful means of communication and visualization in the geosciences. Here, we investigate the range of sketch types and annotations made by expert geoscientists and non-geoscientists during a field trip to the Hat Creek fault zone (northern California) taken during the 2013 AAPG Hedberg Research Conference. Participants (N=42) included geologists and seismic interpreters employed in the oil and gas industry (n=20), geologists employed in academia (n=16), and non-geoscientist software developers and cognitive scientists (n=6). A total of 361 sketches of the normal fault system were collected during stops at three field modules. Sketches were thematically coded by sketch type (e.g., map, perspective landscape view, cross-section, three-dimensional [3-D] block diagram) and annotation type (e.g., fault symbols, reference locations, questions, labels). Overall, two-dimensional (2-D) perspective sketches and maps were the most common representation type, whereas 3-D block diagrams were rare. Statistical analysis of code counts suggests that the choice of sketch and annotation types is largely driven by characteristics of the field trip stop and/or the particular task required. Non-geoscientists more frequently produced perspective sketches from their actual viewpoint, but were less likely to annotate diagrams. As compared to industry peers, academic geoscientists were more likely to create related sets of sketches. Conversely, industry geoscientists were more likely to explain their thinking and provide alternate explanations. This work is a first step in exploring geoscientists' sketching practices in the field, and may have implications for both undergraduate education and industry training.

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