Visualization of high dynamic range data in geosciences

Xiaoru Yuan, Yingchun Liu, Baoquan Chen, David A. Yuen, Tomas Pergler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High dynamic range data, the magnitudes of which span a wide range of scales, are pervasive in the geosciences. Simulations or measurements of many important geophysical processes, such as earthquakes, mantle temperature fluctuations, generate various high dynamic range data sets, in the form of volume or surface. Effective visualization of such datasets is vital for understanding such complex geophysical phenomena and poses a new challenge for both geoscientists and visualization scientists. We describe the general aspects of high dynamic range datasets in the geophysical sciences and provide three case studies of visualizing such data using the techniques we have developed recently. They include: (1) visualizing the Earth's mantle structures using high dynamic volume volume visualization (HDR VolVis); (2) visualizing surface ruptures during earth quakes using an interference-based method; (3) visualizing tsunami waves again using interference-based method. To improve the performance of visualizing these datasets, which are usually large in size, modern commodity graphics hardware are leveraged to provide simultaneously efficient simulation and visualization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this work includes University of Minnesota Computer Science Department Start-up funds, University of Minnesota Digital Technology Center Seed Grants 2002-4, NSF ACI-0238486 (CAREER), NSF EIA-0324864 (ITR), NSF middleware grant from IF program of EAR and CSEDI program of EAR, and the Army High Performance Computing Research Center under the auspices of the Department of the Army, Army Research Laboratory cooperative agreement number DAAD19-01-2-0014. Its content does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of this agency, and no official endorsement should be inferred.


  • Earthquake
  • High dynamic range
  • Surface visualization
  • Tsunami
  • Visualization
  • Volume visualization


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