Icon for: Robert Stern


University of Texas at Dallas

Collaborative Research: Geoscience Animation: Construction, Evaluation, and M...

NSF Awards: 1712495

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate

Continental rifting, leading to the breakup of continents to form new oceans by seafloor spreading and new passive continental margins, is an important geologic process. Understanding this process is essential for advancing student understanding of geology plate tectonics, so with NSF support we have animated the rift-to-drift process aimed at upper and lower division undergraduate audiences.  We began by writing a narrative based on concepts and examples from the scientific literature. The greatest amount of time and effort was expended on animating lithospheric cross-sections of the general process of continental rifting, the transition to seafloor spreading, the formation of small ocean basins, and passive continental margins. A sketch of each process was created using Adobe Illustrator, and after multiple revisions during weekly team meetings the sketches were put into motion using Adobe After Effects. Each animation went through multiple revisions before arriving at a final draft product. Revised animations were then input to Adobe Premiere Pro to create the final video. The UTD team learned how to use these tools as part of an upper division UTD course in creating geoscience animations and videos. A mature draft of the upper division animation will be tested in courses and posted on the UTD GSS YouTube page. We invite feedback for improving the upper division animation and for adapting this for the lower division audience.

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