Authors: 
Maria Lujan Ganuza, Gabriela Ferracutti, Maria Florencia Gargiulo, Silvia Mabel Castro, Ernesto Bjerg, Eduard Groller, Kresimir Matkovic
Keywords: 
Interactive visual analysis, visualization in earth, space, and environmental sciences, coordinated and multiple views, \ design studies
Abstract: 
Geologists usually deal with rocks that are up to several thousand million years old. They try to reconstruct the tectonic settings where these rocks were formed and the history of events that affected them through the geological time. The spinel group minerals provide useful information regarding the geological environment in which the host rocks were formed. They constitute excellent indicators of geological environments (tectonic settings) and are of invaluable help in the search for mineral deposits of economic interest. The current workflow requires the scientists to work with different applications to analyze spinel data. They do use specific diagrams, but these are usually not interactive. The current workflow hinders domain experts to fully exploit the potentials of tediously and expensively collected data. In this paper, we introduce the Spinel Explorer - an interactive visual analysis application \ for spinel group minerals. The design of the Spinel Explorer and of the newly introduced interactions is a result of a careful study of geologists??? tasks. The Spinel Explorer includes most of the diagrams commonly used for analyzing spinel group minerals, including 2D binary plots, ternary plots, and 3D Spinel prism plots. Besides specific plots, conventional information visualization views are also integrated in the Spinel Explorer. All views are interactive and linked. The Spinel Explorer supports conventional statistics commonly used in spinel minerals exploration. The statistics views and different data derivation techniques are fully integrated in the system. Besides the Spinel Explorer as newly proposed interactive exploration system, we also describe the identified analysis tasks, and propose a new workflow. We evaluate the Spinel Explorer using real-life data from two locations in Argentina: the Frontal Cordillera in \ Central Andes and Patagonia. We describe the new findings of the geologists which would have been much more difficult to achieve using the current workflow only. Very positive feedback from geologists confirms the usefulness of the Spinel Explorer.
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