Poster #185, SCEC Community Models (CXM)

A Virtual Reality Experience of the California Faults

Dianne D. Pham, Michael R. Methvin, & Christodoulos Kyriakopoulos
Poster Image: 

Poster Presentation

2020 SCEC Annual Meeting, Poster #185, SCEC Contribution #10532 VIEW PDF
In recent years, the use of Virtual Reality (VR) has opened new possibilities for the visualization and analysis of scientific data. Earth sciences and specifically the field of Earthquake Science would highly benefit from the use of VR. More specifically, the physical mechanisms and tectonic structures behind the generation of earthquakes are among the most difficult to represent and communicate to the general public. Here we present a virtual reality experience based on the geometry of faults represented in the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3)(Field et al., 2013). With a foundation from a previous representation in Paraview (.org) visualized in the HTC VIVE Pro syste...m, a process was initiated to improve the VR experience with new layers of information. This new information includes the California counties’ administrative limits, major city centers, the California system of highways, hydrologic information, quaternary fault lines, seismicity, and a digital elevation model of the state of California. In the last phase of our work, we used both the HTC VIVE Pro system and Oculus Rift S to test the resulting VR experience. Both VR systems use the software SteamVR to communicate through Paraview. Based on our preliminary experience with the Oculus Rift S, we see that the three-dimensional renderings of the material are displayed smoothly and are comparable to the previous version implemented with the HTC VIVE Pro. To make the project more accessible to the general public we are writing a manual composed of step-by-step procedures on how to operate the files on personal systems. Moving forward with the project, we aim to utilize a multiplayer mode for the VR experience which allows users to explore through the map in remote locations alongside a trained guide. In the specific case of the California faults, we envision a joint exploration between students and professors and the possibility to explore dynamic ruptures models together. The COVID-19 pandemic created significant disruption to our activities. Consequently, we reorganized our lab work to be online and adapted accordingly to our remote working conditions. The above work was supported by SCEC through the SURE internship program. The project is based out of the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) Visualization Lab at the University of Memphis.