Thursday 24 January 2013

A Voxler beyond A Surfer



Here comes another great three-dimensional visualization software from the stables of Golden Software Inc. Overtime, Surfer had taken the prominent place in the domain of ‘basic/simple’ three-dimensional visualization of geophysical or geospatial data; but Voxler is here to put spice up our plots with its its amazing speedy creation of stunning models that visualize the relationships across your data set. This robust, yet user-friendly program gives you the power to display your data in a variety of formats and colours, capture video animation of your moving model, and select from several image and data export options.

One cool feature I like about Voxler is that it suspends layers of imported datasets on one another, while Surfer only merges the layers on one another. The suspension capability allows for independent as well as relative observation of the plots.

Voxler can plot datasets in variety of ways which include 3D-surface maps (height field), contour maps, point maps (scatter-plots) etc. It can also work with datasets of a wide variety of formats, although there is limitation to the type of graphic output obtainable with different data formats; for example you can not plot a surface map (height-field) with a .dat dataset but you can plot surface maps and many more types of graphic output with a .grd dataset.

Try out the wonders of Voxler and you’ll get hooked as I’ve been :)



Olokutarocks_vox3 - Contour map suspended above surface map, allowing for both independent and relative observation of datasets.

Olokutarocks_vox4 - 3D observation of the relationship between datasets (surface maps only).



- Observation of the relationship between datasets (Surface map and scatter points).

Wednesday 9 January 2013

The fear of asking questions. 
One of the many challenges preventing the bulk of Nigerian geoscience students from understanding geoscientific concepts is their inability to ask questions during classes.

Students are unable to ask questions in class for various reasons. These reasons  include the fear of coming across as arrogant to the lecturer and risk being tagged an "I too know (I.T.K)", as well as the fear of being perceived as dull by other students in the class who are not asking questions. In some cases, the students are just simply too confused about the topic being taught to even know which question to ask.

Being unable to ask questions during class is a challenge I personally battled with for the major part of my undergraduate education. For me, it was the fear of coming off as a proud or arrogant student to the lecturer. This fear started from before I gained admission into the university. I had heard several stories of some lecturers in Nigerian universities who would get extremely embarrassed and offended when their students ask them questions they could not answer, and may eventually regard the inquisitive student as "an enemy". Such stories have probably contributed substantially to the fear of asking questions in class by many students and consequently led to failure of many students in Nigerian universities.

However, in order to weather the challenge, I spent extra time in the library and browsing the  internet in order to learn more and find answers to the many questions I had on the topics I was taught in class. Finally, in my final year, assured that I had built my grade point to a level that no lecturer could pull it down below "comfort zone", I became bolder and began to ask my lecturers question in class.

Surprisingly, it produced amazing results. I began to learn more and understand better, as my questions turned the lecture classes into interesting discussions. I could remember one of the classes in which the lecturer gave some tips beyond the scope of the lecture at the time, which broadened my understanding of the tectonic evolution of the African plate. These tips were never stated in class notes, yet they remained entrenched in my mind up to this day.

As opined by Blosser (1990), if one of the objectives of scientific knowledge impartation is the development of higher level thinking processes in students, how else can this goal be achieved without intensive communication between the teachers and students involved? And how better can this communication grow between a teacher and a student without at least one of the two parties asking relevant questions?

Arthurs (2011) highlighted the propensity of students to develop alternate conceptions, misconceptions and even their own personalised but incorrect cognitive models of geoscience concepts. This will definitely be typical of a teacher-dominated geoscience class.

Therefore, if Nigerian geoscience teachers expect their students to develop into independent scientific thinkers and future problem solvers, they must begin to provide opportunities during their lectures that allow for greater student involvement and less teacher domination of the learning process. With this in place, it'll be easier for them to identify the various misconceptions and difficulties their students are having with understanding the topics and concepts being taught in class.

1. Arthurs, L. (2011). What college-level students think: Student alternate conceptions and their cognitive models of geoscience concepts. Geol. Soc. of America Special Papers, v.474. Pp.135-152.

2. Blosser, E. P. (1990). Using questions in science classrooms. Research Matters - to the science teacher. NARST. No.9001.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

A threatening earthquake in SW Nigeria?

The increase in reports of tremors in the south-west Nigerian sub-region within the past two-three decades has become disturbing; and several research works (Elueze, 2003, Odeyemi, 2006, Anifowose et al., 2006, Kolawole & Anifowose, 2011) had referred to the Ifewara-Zungeru mega-structure and its connecting Southern-Atlantic transform faults as the major sources.

Below is a historical record of earth tremors in Nigeria (Akpan & Yakubu, 2010): 

However, these questions may arise:

Considering the spatial coverage of the effects of the tremors, is it possible that these tremors were produced by more than a single fault (Ifewara Fault)? or are there possibly more active faults in the region?


I will like to know your thoughts on this issue. Kindly drop your opinions in the comment box.



1. Akpan, O. U. and Yakubu, T. A. (2010). A review of earthquake occurrences and observations in Nigeria. Earthq Sci. (2010) 23. Pp. 289-294.

2. Anifowose, A. Y. B., Odeyemi, I. B. and Borode, A. M. (2006). The tectonic significance of the Ifewara-Zungeru megastructure in Nigeria. In: Teme S C and Ezeigbo C U. Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Geodesy and Geodynamics. Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics, Toro, Nigeria. Pp. 17–28.

3. Elueze, A. A. (2003). Evaluation of the 7 March 2000 earth tremor in Ibadan area, southwestern Nigeria. Jour Min Geol 39(2). Pp. 79–83.

4. Kolawole, F. and Anifowose, A.Y.B. (2011). Remote sensing analysis of a dextral discontinuity along Ifewara-Zungeru area, Nigeria, West Africa. Ind. Jour. of Sci. & Tech. Vol. 4 No. 1. Pp. 46-51.

5. Odeyemi, I. B. (2006). The Ifewara fault in southwestern Nigeria: Its relationship with fracture zones along the Nigerian coast. Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics, Toro, Bauchi State. Pp. 1–13.