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Citizen Science: Tips on updating Wisconsin’s geologic outcrop descriptions

Hoyt Park outcrop, Madison, Wisconsin Mindoro road cut, photo Roadcut near Tilden, Wisconsin

The most significant change we can make to the outcrop descriptions is to make them available online with plenty of digital photos. Here are some tips for taking geologically useful notes and photos:

1. Refer to the original outcrop description to decide what to photograph. Take pictures of important features such as contacts between two rock types (or members or formations), fossils, bedding planes or fractures.
2. Include a recognizable object in every picture for scale. Common items include a pen, a coin, a ruler. If using a camera lens cap, note its size in the first photo description when you upload images.
3. Take a picture of the entire outcrop. You'll use this image later to mark the locations of the photos. If possible, measure (or estimate) distances from recognizable features such as the top of the outcrop or a distinctive contact.
4. Take lots of photos and bracket the settings to get the best exposure.
5. Write notes about each picture. Note color variations, thickness of layers, grain size, presence or absence of fossils, inclusions. Take pictures of the contacts (where rock type changes). Note which way is up (this becomes particularly important on close-ups).

PRINT copy of field notes to take with you

EXAMPLE page of updated outcrop description with photos and notes

UPLOAD your photos and notes to our database