Underground in glass crystal

3-D model provides insight into hidden soil structures

Crystal model of the soil layers University of Halle-Wittenberg
Read out

Geologists from the University of Halle now provide a "crystal-clear" insight into the underground. They used laser engraving technology to create a true-to-scale 3-D glass-crystal model of the soil structures beneath the chemical town of Bitterfeld. 1.7 million laser points were needed to transfer the structures to the crystal. The extraordinary presentation can be seen for the first time at the 6th Long Night of Science on Friday, July 6, 2007.

"The laser engraving method applied here for the first time permits a very precise representation of the created digital geological 3-D spatial models as imaging in a transparent solid and can thus be viewed from all sides in its spatial context", explains Prof. Dr, Peter Wycisk, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences III. "Until now, this was not possible because the structural models could only be depicted as vertical or horizontal sections or as isolated single bodies." The modeling tools used in the Department of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology of Martin Luther University for the construction of high-resolution geological 3-D Models represent the basis for laser engraving in crystal glass with a high brilliance.

The created prototype consists of a glass crystal cube with ten centimeters edge length and shows nine individual rock layers of the underground. The very local model corresponds to a surface

four by four kilometers in nature with a 20-fold vertical elevation. Due to the high resolution and the real spatial reference of individual information, the structure, the course and the distribution of geological units as well as their spatial relation to the earth's surface are made transparent.

Such models can be used both under technical and planning relevant as well as didactic aspects in education and training. "Especially with regard to presentations at exhibitions and museums, such objects, which allow a visual capture of spatial structures, may be interesting, " says Peter Wycisk. display

(University of Halle-Wittenberg, 04.07.2007 - NPO)