Geovisualization of the Ice Age at The La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, California

Authors: Kristin Wong*, University of Southern California, Regan E. Dunn, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, Carrie Howard, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, Aisling B. Farrell, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, Emily L. Lindsey, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California & La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles California, Jennifer N. Swift*, Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Media and Communication, Geography Education
Keywords: Fossil, Tar Pit, Asphalt, Ice Age, Paleontology, Media Arts, StoryMap, Geochemistry, Geology, GIS&T, Climate, California
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 40
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


USC Spatial Science Institute faculty and an undergraduate student from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts are collaborating with La Brea Tar Pits researchers to develop a novel, interactive Storymap that tells the story of the largest and most well-studied recent fossil deposit at La Brea Tar Pits, named “Pit 91”. The field studies done thus far on this unprecedented deposit have been disparate, ranging from pollen analyses, to paleoecology and taphonomy to reconstructions of megafauna diets based on paired radiometric dates and stable isotopes that may help us better understand our changing climate. Pit 91 comprises a complex depositional history, including areas of classic tar pit-style entrapment, as well as possible fluvial transport.. A Storymap allows us to visually add layers of interpretation designed for the general public in 2D and 3D digital formats in novel ways that relate the fossils spatially to one another and to their depositional history. Lastly, visualizing the spatial connections between the geology beneath La Brea and the positions of radiocarbon-dated fossils provides a new and unique understanding of how the asphaltic fossil deposit formed at this world-famous site over the past 50,000 years..

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