Rocks under the Microscope Zone II Versions EN2 Vol 5 (3) 2020
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Introduction to Special Issue on Rocks under the Microscope
: 2020 - 09 - 30
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Data are the source and cornerstone of scientific discovery. Modern natural sciences are empirical and based on data. Without data, there may be no scientific development. For a long time, because of the limitations of storage media and technology, the results and data of scientific research could only be published in monographs, conference proceedings, or journal papers in the form of main evidence and conclusions, and direct or indirect results generated in the scientific research process as data are buried or even discarded, which is a great waste of human resources. With the rapid development of science and technology, scientific big data have shown explosive growth [1]. Concurrently, with the rapid development of information technology, the costs of storage and dissemination has dropped, removing the capacity, time, and space barriers on data storage and distribution. The technical bottlenecks on disclosure and sharing of scientific data have been overcome.
Scientific data sharing is a new driving force for scientific and technological progress and is an important part of social development. The sharing of scientific data can not only improve the testability and credibility of research results but also expand the scope of scientific research, broaden perspectives on that research, and generate more scientific knowledge. Sharing scientific data can also encourage activities outside research, producing unpredictable social and economic value [2]. As scientific data sharing has great value, the preservation and use of scientific big data have become hot topics for scientists all over the world, and have attracted the attention and promotion of governments, funding agencies, publishing institutions, scientific research institutions, and the public.
Given the high complexity of Earth systems, research methods and parameters are numerous and complex, and data are presented in various forms, such as graphic images, text descriptions, and data tables. Historically, the lack of unified and efficient geological data storage standards and mechanisms has resulted in massive amounts of data scattered in publications or stored in the hands of researchers. Not only can these data not be integrated and used but they also face the risk of disappearing. As Professors Zhang Qi and Zhou Yongzhang [3] said: “In the era of big data, whether geological observations and field surveys can be digitized, and whether unstructured data can be transformed into structured data, are the key to whether geology can enter the era of big data science.” Geological big data have distinct characteristics, such as multi-source (meta) heterogeneity, temporal and spatial correlations, complexity and ambiguity, and the global nature of geological bodies and national interests [4]. The boom in scientific big data has created unprecedented opportunities and challenges to geology, a typical data-intensive discipline.
Geologists had not previously formed a uniform standard for rock microscopic images, and there was no uniform rock microscopic image database. Scientific researchers usually take a small number of images according to their own needs and goals, and publish them in academic papers or store them on the Internet as part of scientific research results or teaching materials. With the development of digital imaging technology in recent years, it has become possible to collect and store rock microscopic images on a large scale. “Deep-Time Digital Earth” (DDE) is an international scientific program funded by the IUGS, with the mission of integrating global data on the evolution of the Earth and sharing global geoscience knowledge and the vision of promoting the transformation of earth science research paradigms. The purpose of rescuing data to promote data sharing and efficient use was initiated by the Chinese sedimentology and paleogeography working groups, and negotiated with sedimentologists and paleogeographers to jointly publish this Special Issue on Rocks under the Microscope by soliciting the results of rock microscopic image data that meet global standards. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) unpublished rock microscopic image datasets generated and acquired by the project; (2) rock microscopic image datasets from geological teaching; (3) rock microscopic image datasets used in published articles; and (4) rock microscopic image datasets collected by teams or individuals.
There is a proverb in China that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The organization and pursuit of this topic have accumulated a batch of unified standard and high-quality rock microscopic image datasets, and contributed to the preservation and sharing of hidden geoscience data. We call on colleagues from the geosciences to invest in the sharing and use of geological big data with practical actions. When the more people share data, the more people benefit. Small actions to explore the sharing of geoscience data will expand in-depth research and application of data.
This special issue includes one paper on standards for digital photomicrographs of sedimentary rocks and 21 data papers. These data cover 5,286 rock samples for 12 types of rocks formed from the Archean (approximately 2.6 billion years ago) to modern times, from the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, Tarim Basin, South China, North China, and so on (Figure 1, Table 1). Each sample includes at least two microscopic images, with a description of the basic characteristics. The topic includes 27 rock thin-section information tables, 46 compressed packages, 19,333 photomicrographs, and a data volume exceeding 110 GB. The rock samples involved 129 stratigraphic sections or boreholes in more than 60 lithostratigraphic units. The samples were distributed in 28 provinces in China and Bohemia in the Czech Republic (Table 2).


Figure 1.   Types and quantities of rock samples included in Rocks Under the Microscope
Table 1.   Statistics of samples in Rocks Under the Microscope
TypesSandstoneConglomerateSiltstoneMudstonePyroclastic rockPeperiteLimestoneDolomiteOther endogenetic rocksIntrusive rockVolcanic rockMetamorphic rocksTotal
Number152580140973517725263205481641855286
Table 2.   Geographical distribution of rock samples in Rocks under the Microscope
ProvinceNumbers of rocksProvinceNumbers of rocks
Tibet2109Beijing24
Xinjiang706Gansu16
Shanxi468Guangxi16
Shaanxi395Guizhou16
Sichuan350Yunnan14
Henan193Jiangxi12
Anhui155Hunan6
Jiangsu138Jilin3
Shandong320Liaoning3
Hubei113Ningxi3
Inner Mongolia81Qinghai3
Zhejiang57Taiwan3
Chongqin56Tianjing3
Hebei45Bohemia, Czech Republic3
Fujian27
The purpose of this special issue is to embrace big data and facilitate sharing by humans and computers, with data that are convenient for humans and computers both to read and to use. It is well understood that scientists need more data to conduct comparative research for teaching and producing popular science. The vigorous development of image technology and artificial intelligence makes research based on microscopic image recognition achievable. Important prerequisites for the realization of this interdisciplinary research model of computers and geology is a number of data sets and a unified standard and information format to ensure the effective integration of these data. In this sense, this special issue enriches the rock microscopic image database. A batch of high-quality image data not only meets the needs of geoscience researchers but also provides important data samples for the intersection of machine learning and geology. In addition, these rock microscopic images can be used as materials for popular science education, become a window for the public to understand the mysteries of the Earth, and be used as materials for image passwords or image verification codes. Unique and mysterious microscopic images also have a certain value for artistic appreciation and curiosity.
Many thanks to the journal China Scientific Data for supporting this special issue on Rocks under the Microscope. Especially, thanks to the authors of the dataset papers for their careful collaboration, and to the editors for their rigorous work. The publication of this issue is the result of the joint efforts of the journal’s editor-in-chief, editorial board, editorial office, reviewers, and authors. It is hoped that the publication of these rock microscopic image datasets serves as an inspiration. We sincerely hope that more geological datasets will be published, and more hidden geological data will be discovered and shared. Only with the continuous accumulation of high-quality geological big data can geology embrace data science. We believe that this day will come soon.
  Appendix 1
NumberTitleAuthorTectonic division or regionSample formation ageNumber of straigraphic sections or boreholesNumber of stratigraphic units involvedNumber of samples /pieceNumber of micrographs /sheetDescription form/sheetCompressed packets/pieceData amount /GB
1A photomicrograph dataset of rocks for petrology teaching at Nanjing UniversityLai Wen et al.Throughout China and the Czech RepublicUnknown3242647334.95
2A photomicrograph dataset of sand grains from the Yarlung Tsangpo, TibetDong Xiaolong et al.Yarlung Zangbo RiverModern1218762210.23
3A photomicrograph dataset of Late Cretaceous to Early Paleogene
carbonate rocks in Tibetan Himalaya
Li Juan et al.Tethys HimalayasLate Cretaceous–Eocene Carbonates54465890449.35
4Polarized light micrograph dataset of Late Cretaceous-Eocene rock thin sections
from western Tarim Basin, Xinjiang
Zhang Shijie et al.Western Tarim BasinLate Cretaceous–Eocene696821364142.05
5A photomicrograph dataset of mid-Cretaceous rocks from Langshan Formation in
the northern Lhasa Terrane, Tibet
Xu Yiwei et al.North Lhasa TerrainMid-Cretaceous3155911341425.06
6A photomicrograph dataset of Cretaceous siliciclastic rocks from
Xigaze Forearc basin, southern Tibet
Zhang Yiqiu et al.Shigatse Forearc BasinMid-Cretaceous103191388138.9
7Photomicrograph dataset of Cretaceous siliciclastic rocks from central-northern Lhasa
Terrane, Tibet
Lai Wen et al.Central-northern part of Lhasa TerraneMid-Cretaceous225402876133.03
8A dataset of Middle Jurassic clastic rocks in northeastern Ordos BasinChao Hui et al.Northeastern margin of Ordos BasinMiddle Jurassic2278516125.02
9A photomicrograph dataset of Early-Middle Jurassic rocks in the
Tibetan Tethys Himalaya
Han Zhong et al.Tethys HimalayaEarly–Middle Jurassic234941026128.64
10A microscopic image dataset of Mesozoic metamorphic grains
bearing sandstones from mid-Yangtze, China
Ma Qianli et al.Middle Yangtze RegionJura-Trias7686289110.81
11A carbonate micrograph dataset of Feixianguan Formation
in northwestern margin of Upper Yangtze
Chai Hanbing et al.Northwestern margin of the upper YangtzeEarly Triassic413301082111.49
12A photomicrophotograph dataset of He-8 Member sandstone from the Upper
Paleozoic in northeastern Ordos Basin
Shi Ge et al.Northeast Ordos BasinLate Permian Epoch112801144143.96
13A micrograph dataset of Permian volcanolithic sandstone-laden fragments from southwest ChinaFeng Wei et al.Southwest ChinaPermian1143318110.86
14A photomicrograph dataset of Upper Paleozoic tight sandstone from Linxing block, eastern margin of Ordos BasinLi Panpan et al.Linxing Block on the eastern margin of Ordos BasinCarboniferous–Permian246305660115.67
15A carbonate microscopic image dataset of the Permo-Carboniferous
Taiyuan Formation from the southern margin of North China
Block
Ma Rui et al.Southern margin of North China PlateCarboniferous–Permian3195380131.98
16A micrograph dataset of terrigenous clastic rocks of Upper Devonian Lower Carboniferous Wutong Group in southern lower YangtzeCao Wenpeng et al.Lower Yangtze RegionLate Devonian –Early Carboniferous121212856113.17
17A micrograph dataset of late Ordovician carbonate rocks (including bioclasts) in
Northwest Tarim and South China
Chang Xiaolin et al.Tarim Basin and South ChinaUpper Ordovician27114348121.97
18A photomicrograph dataset of Cambrian Miaolingian–Furongian carbonates at the Jiulongshan section in western ShandongXin Hao et al.Eastern North China PlatformMiddle–Late Cambrian12104825120.32
19A dataset of microscope images of Middle Cambrian rock sections from Xuzhuang Formation in Ordos BasinQian Hongshan et al.Perimeter of Ordos BasinMiddle Cambrian91192836111.98
20A microscopic image dataset of Sinian carbonate from Dengying Formation on the northwestern margin of Sichuan BasinQi Zhe et al.Northwestern margin of the upper YangtzeSinian Period231241335116.74
21A micrograph dataset of buried hills and overlying glutenite in Bozhong Sag, Bohai Bay BasinLiu Yanpeng et al.North China Bohai BayArcheozoic, Cenozoic26204543114.06
Total129625286193332746110.24
  Appendix 1 (continued)
NumberTitleAuthorRock type and quantitySummary/number
SandstoneConglomerateSiltstoneShalePyroclastic rockPeperiteLimestoneDolomiteOther endogenous sedimentary rocksIntrusive rockVolcanicsMetamorphic rocks
1A photomicrograph dataset of rocks for petrology teaching at Nanjing UniversityLai Wen et al.180612150153157545120324
2A photomicrograph dataset of sand grains from the Yarlung Tsangpo, TibetDong Xiaolong et al.2000000000002
3A photomicrograph dataset of Late Cretaceous to Early Paleogene
carbonate rocks in Tibetan Himalaya
Li Juan et al.10000345380000465
4Polarized light micrograph dataset of Late Cretaceous-Eocene rock thin sections
from western Tarim Basin, Xinjiang
Zhang Shijie et al.5406691914361411000682
5A photomicrograph dataset of mid-Cretaceous rocks from Langshan Formation in
the northern Lhasa Terrane, Tibet
Xu Yiwei et al.0000004431130030559
6A photomicrograph dataset of Cretaceous siliciclastic rocks from
Xigaze Forearc basin, southern Tibet
Zhang Yiqiu et al.159112510107140191
7Photomicrograph dataset of Cretaceous siliciclastic rocks from central-northern Lhasa
Terrane, Tibet
Lai Wen et al.2501526018265063125402
8A dataset of Middle Jurassic clastic rocks in northeastern Ordos BasinChao Hui et al.6008100000000078
9A photomicrograph dataset of Early-Middle Jurassic rocks in the
Tibetan Tethys Himalaya
Han Zhong et al.1700007040430000494
10A microscopic image dataset of Mesozoic metamorphic grains
bearing sandstones from mid-Yangtze, China
Ma Qianli et al.833000000000086
11A carbonate micrograph dataset of Feixianguan Formation
in northwestern margin of Upper Yangtze
Chai Hanbing et al.000000295350000330
12A photomicrophotograph dataset of He-8 Member sandstone from the Upper
Paleozoic in northeastern Ordos Basin
Shi Ge et al.28000000000000280
13A micrograph dataset of Permian volcanolithic sandstone-laden fragments from southwest ChinaFeng Wei et al.430000000000043
14A photomicrograph dataset of Upper Paleozoic tight sandstone from Linxing block, eastern margin of Ordos BasinLi Panpan et al.30500000000000305
15A carbonate microscopic image dataset of the Permo-Carboniferous
Taiyuan Formation from the southern margin of North China
Block
Ma Rui et al.000000950000095
16A micrograph dataset of terrigenous clastic rocks of Upper Devonian Lower Carboniferous Wutong Group in southern lower YangtzeCao Wenpeng et al.13418154400000001212
17A micrograph dataset of late Ordovician carbonate rocks (including bioclasts) in
Northwest Tarim and South China
Chang Xiaolin et al.10060010700000114
18A photomicrograph dataset of Cambrian Miaolingian–Furongian carbonates at the Jiulongshan section in western ShandongXin Hao et al.00000010400000104
19A dataset of microscope images of Middle Cambrian rock sections from Xuzhuang Formation in Ordos BasinQian Hongshan et al.1801010011108350000192
20A microscopic image dataset of Sinian carbonate from Dengying Formation on the northwestern margin of Sichuan BasinQi Zhe et al.000000010915000124
21A micrograph dataset of buried hills and overlying glutenite in Bozhong Sag, Bohai Bay BasinLiu Yanpeng et al.1023371000002059204
Total152580140973517725263205481641855286
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Article and author information
Cite As
HU Xiumian, HOU Mingcai, LAI Wen. Introduction to Special Issue on Rocks under the Microscope. China Scientific Data, 2020, 5(3). (2020-09-29). DOI: 10.11922/csdata.2020.0088.zh.
Hu Xiumian
huxm@nju.edu.cn
Hou Mingcai
Lai Wen
Publication records
Published: Sept. 30, 2020 ( VersionsEN2
Published: Sept. 30, 2020 ( VersionsZH2
Updated: Sept. 30, 2020 ( VersionsZH4
References
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