The Virtual Earth describes the real or material Earth - it is an electronic rendition of our planet as it is today. The aspect upon which we have specifically focussed is the geometric description of the planetary lithosphere, in particular the 3D geometry of the major subducting slabs. These geometries have been derived by examination of hypocentric datasets in combinaiton with images derived from seismic tomography (e.g. Richards et al. 2005).
The tomographic data has been analyzed in a way that emphasizes the median of any particular lithospheric slab. Errors of interpretation will abound, for seismic tomography is a science that is still in its infancy and ray-path density in many areas is too low to allow anything but subjective interpretation. Nevertheless, there are advantages to an overall assessment of possible geometry and the plethora of results that continue to emerge as the result of this analysis.
To contribute to its construction please contact one of us. Industry support is needed to allow The Virtual Earth to continue to the next stage of its development (universal grid-enabled access to the data as part of the AuScope NCRIS initiative).