AAPG’s Memoir 111 “3-D Structural Interpretation: Earth, Mind, and Machine” will be released this month.
The volume is one of the first to compare perspectives of geologic interpretation from industry and academic practitioners, with consideration of how 3-D cognitive skills impact what geologists think and do.
Editor Bob Krantz noted that everyone has different 3-D abilities and it can often be challenging for academic instructors and industry trainers to help students and employees succeed in building their interpretation skills.
“Geology instructors have long reached out to cognitive scientists to understand how innate skills in 3-D perception and thinking can be developed and reinforced,” he said.
He explained that these are often the same skills needed for advanced geologic learning and interpretation.
“Cognitive scientists have shown that these fundamental 3-D skills can be measured, and that training can improve the skills,” Krantz added.
Bridging Industry, Academia
This study is significant since, he said, “It provides the first step in bridging the gap between academic and industry methods. That bridge helps educators know about and prepare students for the kinds of geologic interpretation that they will face during their industry careers.”
“And it can help provide industry trainers, skills managers and even software designers with insights to improve training, software and methods that recognize how spatial cognitive skills really work in geologic thinking.”
Krantz said he feels that it’s important to share this new information because “it invites further research from cognitive scientists, who, by the way, think that geologists are some of the best 3-D thinkers around.”
The idea for the volume was spurred by the 2013 3-D Interpretation Hedberg Conference. Krantz said the conference grew out of conversations between himself and fellow editor Carol Ormand, who were both interested in comparing academic and industry interpreter skills. They also wondered how spatial thinking affects skill growth and interpreter success.
“The planning for the conference quickly broadened to include software strategies and cognitive scientists. In June of 2013, 70 people representing all of these perspectives met in Reno for a week of presentations, discussions and workshops. We even had a field day with active research,” Krantz explained.
The field day took place at the Hat Creek fault system in California. Participants made 3-D interpretations while cognitive scientists observed the day.
“One of the chapters in the volume reports on some results from Hat Creek,” said Krantz.
When asked about the latest developments of the study, Krantz noted that there has recently been more collaboration between the industry and academic divide.
“There has also been direct consulting by cognitive scientists with industry training departments,” he said. “We would love to see these collaborations grow. One great opportunity would be getting more industry data in the hands of students, and more integration of these data not just with academic research, but with collaborative interpretation efforts between industry and academic geologists.”
To learn more, visit store.aapg.org and type Memoir 111 in the search bar.