Folded Rock North of Loch Melfort in Scotland
Folded Rock North of Loch Melfort in ScotlandCourtesy Anne Burgess

A rock mass visible at the surface is named an "outcrop" by geologists. Most of these outcrops are made of a single, homogenous kind of rock (e.g. basalt) but in many cases rocks are layered, fractured, cleaved, or show more complicated patterns on their surface. At high temperatures and pressures inside the earth, rocks can move slowly, or can fracture creating fault planes. Outcropedia is a website meant to show a collection of such outcrops.

Outcropedia is the brainchild of three structural geologists : Cees Passchier, Mark Jessell, and Hermann Lebit. It uses a GoogleEarth template, and by clicking on a datapoint, you can see a photograph or drawing with explanatory text. Many of the outcrops included are in remote areas of planet Earth. Outcropedia welcomes new submissions, so if you have an image of an outcrop, submit it for addition!

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

Finally I can do something with all that slide film I took in college.

Seriously though, I know so many geologists with their squirreled away list of primo outcrops. I can't wait to see if they'll add their favs to this database.

This should also be a fun resource for your next road trip. Hunting out unconformities, where your hand can span the passing of tens of millions of years, can be quite fun.

posted on Thu, 11/03/2011 - 5:04pm

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