Tectonics

Background

"Visual Earth: Plate Tectonics" was our first 3D interactive visualization in a series for teaching and learning about Earth, for which we collaborated with Prof. Taylor Perron and other geologists from the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). The visualizations include 3D global data maps of volcanoes, earthquakes, and seafloor age; an animation with world examples of the Wilson Cycle theory of ocean basin evolution; and 3D graphics of the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent. "Visual Earth: Plate Tectonics" was incorporated in lectures and group exercises in EAPS’s signature undergraduate class 12.001 "Introduction to Geology".

Visualizations

We built the interactive modules in Unity (interface snapshot below), using graphic assets we created in Maya (3D models), Illustrator (maps, interface elements), Photoshop (paleo maps), and After Effects (animation).
Unity programming by Brian Deans-Rowe
Data and paleo maps and animation by Krista Shapton
Additional maps and interface graphics by Betsy Skrip
Concept art, game design, and directed by Violeta Ivanova

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.

- Georgia O'Keeffe