Development of an Intelligent Aid in Lithostratigraphic Correlation
Marcus Bursik Principal Investigator
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The objective of the proposed work is to develop an intelligent decision-aid system to organize and process data for stratigraphic correlation and, ultimately, interpretation of eruption patterns. The system is to be based on a relational database for data storage, and application of information processing techniques to aid in tephrostratigraphic correlation and interpretation. <br/><br/>The direct intellectual merit of the work lies in the development of a system that can help a technical user to correlate tephra and other pyroclastic layers, and ultimately determine age and pattern of eruptions. The test area proposed for this study is the Mono-Inyo Craters, a large rhyolitic volcanic field with a complicated eruption history. By helping to organize complex, even conflicting stratigraphic data, the system will be able to aid in geological exploration of an area with a past that would otherwise be difficult to unravel. There are implications of the work for all stratigraphic studies. Although the proposed ``intelligent correlation system'' will operate on tephra data, there is nothing particular to tephra layers built into the methodology. Therefore the system should be readily transferable, and provide a correlation aid for all stratigraphers. <br/><br/>The major broad impacts of the proposed research are thought to be primarily in the realms of the computational infrastructure for volcanology, as well as geology itself. Through open, broad dissemination of research results, the goal is to have the intelligent system described herein available for use by stratigraphers. The results of the research will be disseminated by publication in top journals, but perhaps more importantly, by open sharing of research software and techniques through the Internet.