There are many geoscience research issues that bear directly on the economy and history of Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. Ground- and surface-water quantity and quality, water-related legal issues, mineral resources, landslide hazards, volcanic and seismic hazards, and oil and gas potential are all important to Idaho citizens. This project builds upon the existing Digital Atlas of Idaho website and uses digital information and virtual reality visualization to make Idaho geology come alive for students, teachers and the general public.
The Digital Geology of Idaho website is being upgraded during this project to include a new digital geologic map of the state, and ten to fifteen topical units on the geology and geography of Idaho. The topical units are being constructed so that they are keyed to the map and contain photographs of Idaho's diverse rocks and landscapes, plus three- and four-dimensional cross-sections and visualizations (with time as the fourth dimension). The project's products are being designed and developed so they are accessible through DLESE.
After the project is complete, researchers will be able to use the map to develop simplified figures that can be used in published journals. The website will provide information for a sophomore-level Geology of Idaho course, plus laboratory units for freshman-level Introductory Geology courses.
The project is overseen by faculty and graduate students at Idaho State University, Idaho Geological Survey, Lewis-Clark State College, and the University of Houston. The topical teaching units are being developed with graduate student and undergraduate earth-science teaching helpers. Earth Science Education students who participate in the project will be able to use the exercises they helped develop when they enter the workforce. The web-based digital products will also be used by the Idaho Geological Survey during summer workshops for teachers, and by Idaho State University workshops hosted by the Sawtooth Science Institute.