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Three-dimensional visualization of the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park fossil beds from terrestrial LiDAR data
dePolo, Paige Three-dimensional visualization of the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park fossil beds from terrestrial LiDAR data.pdf
Geological Sciences and Engineering
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A terrestrial LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) unit was used to scan an in situ death assemblage of the enormous Late Triassic ichthyosaur, Shonisaurus popularis, with the goal of testing the applicability of this method in creating three-dimensional digital models of large fossil sites. The fossil beds are located at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Nye County, Nevada where they are protected by a permanent shelter, the Fossil Hut. Thirteen scan locations were used to survey both the exterior and interior of the Fossil Hut. The point cloud of the quarry model was composed from nine high-resolution scans. Digital measurements of the length of selected skeletal elements in the quarry model correspond well to caliper measurements of the same elements in the field. The millimeter scale resolution of the S. popularis remains demonstrated by the LiDAR point cloud is suitable for analysis of gross bone structures and represents a viable means of digitally capturing in situ fossil sites. The LiDAR model allows for the accurate measurement of the spatial relationships between skeletal elements and provides an important baseline for conserving in situ fossil exhibits.