4DPlates: On the fly visualization of multilayer geoscientific datasets in a plate tectonic environment
This paper presents the 4DPlates, an application designed to display high resolution data and reconstruct their positions in the geologic past. 4DPlates makes use of level of detail (LoD) grids with a 4-8 tree structure to store the data so only the required resolution for a particular viewpoint is used. This facility means that the user can interact with large data sets on the fly, achieving between 30 and 50 frames per second with a large test data set. The article presents the design and functionality of the application from view-dependent visualization to the ability to reconstruct data in the distant past. Finally, we apply the application in two geoscientific settings. In the first, we calculate the tectonic subsidence from sediment loading and test the variation of the sediment density to the resulting subsidence grid. Secondly, we examine two South Atlantic reconstructions and highlight minor differences between them visible in the closeness of the fit of the topographic grids. The application excels at providing an interactive manipulation of high resolution data, whether it be reconstructing the data, setting the lighting angle or vertical exaggeration, or modifying parameters in the underlying formulas.