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Delineation of alluvial fans from Digital Elevation Models with a GIS algorithm for the geomorphological mapping of the Earth and Mars

Authors / Editors: G. Norini, M.C. Zuluaga, I. Ortiz, D.T. Aquino Lagmay, Alfredo Mahar


ABSTRACT

Alluvial fans are prominent depositional geomorphic features present in nearly all global climates on Earth, and also found on Mars. In this study, we present a Geographic Information System (GIS) algorithm designed for the semi-automated detection of alluvial fans that are connected to their contributing upstream drainage network, from the analysis of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). Through a combination of spatial analysis procedures, the GIS algorithm generates maps of alluvial fans and their upstream source drainage and watersheds. Tests of the algorithm in areas with well-known alluvial fans indicate that this new GIS procedure is capable of high-accuracy mapping of the fan apexes and correct delineation of fan deposits, in both arid and humid climates. Possible future applications of the GIS algorithm presented in this study include the systematic survey of alluvial fans at the local, regional and planetary scales, important for geologic hazard assessment, studies on the evolution of climate, analysis of continental sedimentary environments, understanding of the interplay between the endogenous dynamics and exogenous processes, and the evaluation of natural resources.


Published by: Geomorphology , 2016 | Page Nos: 134-149
Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X16306997
Type of Publication: Journal Article