Outcrop conservation: Promoting accessibility, inclusivity, and reproducibility through digital preservation

Brian Burnham* (Corresponding Author), Clare Bond, Peter P. Flaig, Dolores A. van der Kolk, David Hodgetts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Outcrops are routinely used for research and education purposes, and are a key component of geoscientific training. Fundamentally, re-evaluation of outcrop observations and reproducibility of results is critical for scientific advancement.
Accessibility to the field and outcrops, however, remain problematic for several technical and societal reasons. Advances in the application of digital outcrop models to geoscience research and training have seen a significant rise in recent years due to technological innovation and user-friendly workflows. Herein we discuss the necessity to digitally capture outcrops to preserve them and the natural landscapes that have shaped the Geosciences. Examples of outcrop re-evaluation that reflect sedimentological concept and technique advances, only possible with digital outcrops, is presented. Digitally preserved outcrops’ role as milieus for increased accessibility, inclusivity, and scientific reproducibility is discussed. The time has never been more appropriate, and the tools never more accessible, to preserve outcrops and promote a more open and inclusive environment for geoscience research, education, and training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalThe Sedimentary Record
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

We thank Georgina Heldreich for providing useful comments on
an early draft of the manuscript. We gratefully acknowledge the
detailed and constructive reviews by Kim Senger and two anonymous reviewers, all of which greatly improved the manuscript.


  • S 3D Outcrop
  • Digitization
  • Education
  • Accessibility
  • Reproducibility


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