Hi-tech centre to interpret the past

AN EXMOUTH Sea Front interpretation centre would be interactive, free to enter, and include a new caf�, toilets and a shopping area, it has been revealed.

AN EXMOUTH Sea Front "interpretation" centre would be interactive, free to enter, and include a new caf�, toilets and a shopping area, it has been revealed.

Last week, the Journal broke the news of the �1 million bid to the Government's Sea Change Programme.

Along with �0.5 million pledged by Devon County Council which, it is hoped would pay for the project.

A district council spokesman said that the "interpretation" would even be woven into the caf� - with "thematic graphics" mounted to the glass tabletops.

The "experience" would be in the form of audio and visual projected on to dry ice, telling the global story of the Earth's biggest mass extinction at the end of the Permian period 265 million years ago, in which 96 percent of marine species perished.

It will explore the possible causes, including global warming, and how life returned to the oceans and evolved into an abundance of new species.

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The presentation will continue to the present day, with visitors able to watch it standing on a thematic floor "graphic print", complete with commentary.

There will be two presentations, the first a journey from when Exmouth's mudstone and sandstone was laid down during the Permian period to the present.

A globe will track the movements of tectonic plates and show how these have influenced the climate and shaped the landscape.

This journey would begin when Britain had drifted closer to the equator and Exmouth was a blisteringly hot dessert.

Visitors will interact with and follow the globe's tectonic movements through a touch screen, giving them options for exploring Exmouth's location and environment during the Permian, Triassic and Jurassic eras.

The movement of the tectonic plates will be accompanied by video sequences recalling the monsoons, sand storms, floods, heat waves and hurricanes that once affected Exmouth.

The presentation will also include an option for exploring what Exmouth might possibly be like 250 million years in the future.

This second display will tell the story of the Exe Estuary, its geomorphology, landscape, mudflats, salt marsh and sea defences.

The presentation will explore the landscape through satellite imagery and high definition aerial film, possibly through the course of a single tidal cycle.