Eyewire Rocks: Hunt

Daniela Gamba, Rika, stratigraphy, Eyewire, Eyewire Rocks, geology, citizen science

Besides being able to identify different types of minerals and the rocks composed from them, a geologist often needs to become versed in stratigraphy. Big fancy word… what’s it mean?

Well, think about when you see a deep canyon or weathered cliff face and you notice “stripes” in the rock. These stripes are technically called strata, meaning “spreads,” and they accumulate over time because the Earth’s crust is by no means a static object— just very, veeeeeery slow to change. Stratigraphy is therefore the study of these strata.

When examining your local strata, one of the most obvious things you can learn to notice is what sort of rock forms each layer. The three major categories of rock are:

  1. Sedimentary – These rocks are fittingly composed of accumulated, compacted sediment. The sediment itself can be made of minerals from older rocks that broke down from erosion, or from ancient fossils, or from quite a few other sources. Common examples of this rock type include chalk, coal, flint, limestone, sandstone, and shale.
  2. Igneous – These rocks are created from volcanic activity; they’re literally hardened lava! How cool is that? (Much cooler than when they originally formed.) Common examples of this rock type include basalt, granite, obsidian, and pumice.
  3. Metamorphic – These rocks are created when immense pressure and heat force sedimentary and/or igneous rock to undergo physical or chemical changes. For instance, marble is created from limestone, while slate is created from shale. Most metamorphic rocks are harder than rocks in the other categories.

Once you know which rocks can be classified as sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic, you can start to see the history of your local strata unfold before you. Geologists can use this information to determine when the region might have experienced a mudslide or flood that deposited new sediment, or when there might have been fresh volcanic eruptions, and much more. There are also known patterns of strata that are common to certain regions or across the whole globe; the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary can be observed in many parts of the world as a possible indicator of the theorized impact event at Chicxulub.

The really fun part comes when you learn the most common strata patterns and then discover a layer of rock that doesn’t otherwise seem to belong there. You might have just found a vital clue about something distinct to the history of your region!

In the spirit of “spot the difference,” we’re going to see if you’ve got that mindset on Eyewire. It’s Hunt time! There are 12 mergers in the Hunt cell; you have 5.5 days and 24 guesses to locate them all, between midnight EST on 2/22 and noon EST on 2/27.

How to identify and report mergers

    1. Select Hunt cell from Change Cell menu. Stay in the overview.
    2. Type /debug into chat. This will reveal a special box with information about the cell (located above the “Start Playing” box).
    3. Use ALT+click to select the origin point of the merger you have identified. It is a good idea to zoom in close on the merger before you select it to get the most accurate coordinates.
    4. Find the coordinates of the merger’s origin in the cell information box. These are next to the word “center.”
    5. In the chat pm thehunt bot your coordinates. For example: /pm thehunt 5123 4321 5678.
    6. thehunt bot will let you know if you got it right or wrong and tell you how many guesses you have left.
    7. To check how many mergers you have found and to check what guesses you have submitted, type “/pm thehunt !list”; the bot will give you a list of all the coordinates you have guessed, and whether or not there was a merger at each set of coordinates. A + means there was a merger there, a means there was not a merger there.
    8. If you accidentally submit the same coordinate a second time, it does not count as two guesses.

Do not reveal your coordinates to other players. Do not do anything against the spirit of the Hunt. Anyone caught cheating will be automatically disqualified from the event and will not receive any points.

Proximity to merger start point is determined by number of voxels (1 voxel = approx. 1/250th of a cube’s width). Mergers are only counted as found if guessed within a distance of 250 voxels. Pieces of dust floating in space don’t count as mergers, so please don’t report them! We also do not count fused mergers that could not be removed during the Hunt prep process.

Swag (generously sponsored by @susi): The top scoring player will win 1 mug and their choice of a sticker or magnet! Second and third place may each also choose between sticker or magnet.

Bonus info is available in your in-game notifications. Good luck, and happy hunting!

Artwork by Daniela Gamba