Faculty Mentor

Steve Taylor




Morphological changes on Earth’s surface can be observed using digital elevation models (DEM’s) produced by airborne laser altimetry (LiDAR) techniques. Bare earth LiDAR data at high spatial resolutions provides a tool for analysis of geomorphic surface features such as river channel patterns and landslide terrain. Surface expressions of topographic data yield insight into understanding the range of surface processes operating in mountainous watersheds.

This study employs ArcGIS10 spatial analyst extension to examine and calculate slope variance in LiDAR-based elevation models of the Upper Nehalem Watershed. Empirical classification of slope values into three classes, (0-20, 20-70 and 70-90) assists with geomorphic mapping of active channels, valley bottoms, hillslopes and landslide topography. Landslides are of particular importance because they have potential to be hazardous, impact riparian habitat, and affect water quality. High degrees of slope variability and hummocky topography are indicators of either current or past landslide activity. Use of GISbased analysis of LiDAR elevation models to guide geomorphic mapping in the Nehalem Watershed.




Earth/Physical Science


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