Application of airborne LiDAR to mapping seismogenic faults in forested mountainous terrain, southeastern Alps, Slovenia
Cunningham, Dickson and Grebby, Stephen and Tansey, Kevin and Gosar, Andrej and Kastelic, Vanja (2006) Application of airborne LiDAR to mapping seismogenic faults in forested mountainous terrain, southeastern Alps, Slovenia. Geophysical Research Letters, 30 (20). L20308. ISSN 0094-8276
Results are presented of the first airborne LiDAR survey ever flown in Europe for the purpose of mapping the surface expression of earthquake-prone faults. Detailed topographic images derived from LiDAR data of the Idrija and Ravne strike-slip faults in NW Slovenia reveal geomorphological and structural features that shed light on the overall architecture and kinematic history of both fault systems. The 1998 Mw = 5.6, and 2004 Mw = 5.2 Ravne Fault earthquakes and the historically devastating 1511 M = 6.8 Idrija earthquake indicate that both systems pose a serious seismic hazard in the region. Because both fault systems occur within forested terrain, a tree removal algorithm was applied to the data; the resulting images reveal surface scarps and tectonic landforms in unprecedented detail. Importantly, two sites were discovered to be potentially suitable for fault trenching and palaeo-seismological analysis. This study highlights the potential contribution of LiDAR surveying in both low-relief valley terrain and high-relief mountainous terrain to a regional seismic hazard assessment programme. Geoscientists working in other tectonically active regions of the world where earthquake-prone faults are obscured by forest cover would also benefit from LiDAR maps that have been processed to remove the canopy return and reveal the forest floor topography.
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