The use of a terrestrial laser scanner to capture outcrop information has grown in popularity in recent years as a complementary method to geological field work. Laser scanning technology provides a huge volume of geo-referenced data which can be integrated with other datasets. It not only allows 3-D visualisation of the scanned outcrops but also complex qualitative and quantitative analysis of outcrop information. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology was used as the basis for development of an interactive 3-D stereoscopic module of ancient outcrop analogs for Khuff Formation deposited in Eastern Arabian Peninsula. Seven of these outcrops, located in Wadi Bih and Wadi Hagil (Ras Al-Khaimah, U.A.E.) and representing carbonates of the Permo-Triassic Bih, and the Triassic Hagil and Ghail formations were captured using LiDAR technology. In order to obtain the highest quality dataset for visualisation purposes, a terrestrial laser scanner with mounted calibrated digital camera was used to capture outcrop information. The outcrops show lateral and vertical facies variations and stacking patterns comparable to Khuff Formation carbonates of the subsurface of the Middle East. Thicker-bedded, shallow subtidal, high-energy grain-dominated carbonates developing around high-frequency maximum flooding surfaces and thinner-bedded peritidal, low-energy mud-dominated and often microbial-laminated carbonates underlying parasequence boundaries and high-frequency sequence boundaries are features that can be well observed in this dataset. Structural features such as fracture networks, collapse features, vertical low-offset faults and mechanical stratigraphy observed at the outcrops are also captured and documented to help understand fluid flow behavior. All supporting geological interpretation and information are linked interactively to the LiDAR dataset using point-and-click menus to enhance its effectiveness. The 3-D virtual product captures the valuable knowledge of LiDAR scanned outcrops in a fashion that can be used for self-study, training, and pre-field trip and workshop discussions.


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