The view down under

The view down under

July 1, 2009

When energy companies look for new sources of offshore oil, such as Hibernia (ABOVE), they can drill — at great cost — into what might look like a promising play. But they don’t always get what they hope for. Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Landmark Graphics Visualization Laboratory, in St. John’s, is improving the odds. The lab’s computing complex turns reams of data into 3-D images of seafloor geology, which can then be viewed and analyzed on a giant IMAX-like screen.

Although geophysicist and project leader Jeremy Hall is discovering new structures in Newfoundland’s offshore geological deposits, he is equally excited about the lab’s potential in other fields, such as biochemistry, oceanography and medical sciences. “The technology enables us to see things we couldn’t see any other way,” says Hall. “You can appreciate a structure in 3-D better, whether it’s an offshore geological structure or a complex molecule.”