Interested in virtual reality? How about cutting-edge mapping on the World Wide Web?

The West Virginia University Department of Geology and Geography is hosting an open house Friday (April 25) to celebrate its newly renovated home in Brooks Hall on WVU s Downtown Campus and to showcase the work of students and faculty.

The event, from 4-7 p.m. in Room 202, is open to the University community and general public, including elementary, middle and high school students, teachers and parents. Demonstrations of research and tours of the building will run continuously from 4-6:30 p.m., with brief remarks by department chair Trevor Harris at 6:30 p.m.

Highlights will include tours of the departments virtual reality equipment, displays of fossils and minerals that can be viewed and handled by the public, a showcase of the work being done by faculty and students in southern Africa and discussions of geographic information system technology and mapping.

Recent WVU geology and geography news includes:

  • A team of WVU five graduate students recently placed fifth in the American Association of Petroleum GeologistsImperial Barrel Award competition, a global petroleum geoscience contest involving teams from schools in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. WVU students who participated are John Tellers of Wheeling, Valerie Smith of Point Marion, Pa., Julia McConnell of Vinton, Va., Jessica Pierson of Bridgeport and Matthew Boyce of Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • Its easier now for nature enthusiasts, professionals and students to view accurate, detailed terrain maps showing elevation, thanks to the West Virginia State Geographic Information Systems Technical Center, housed in WVU s Department of Geology and Geography. Data created by the center is featured in theTerrainview option of Google Maps,, a free online service which recently launched new 3-D mapping.

For more information about the WVU Department of Geology and Geography open house, call 304-293-5603 or e-mail .