IJG  Vol.5 No.3 , March 2014
Quantitative Geomorphometrics for Terrain Characterization

The relationship between geology and landforms has long been established with quantitative analysis dating back more than 100 years. The surface expression of various subsurface lithologies motivates our effort to develop an automated terrain classification algorithm based solely on topographic information. The nexus of several factors has recently provided the opportunity to advance our understanding of the relationship between topography and geology within a rigorous quantitative framework, including recent advances in the field of geomorphometrics (the science of quantitative land surface analysis), the availability of very high resolution (sub meter) digital elevation models, and increasing sophisticated geomorphology and image analysis techniques. In the present study, the geological and geomorphological units in an exemplar study area located in Western U.S. (southern Nevada) have been delineated through an evaluation of a high resolution (1-meter and 0.25-meter) digital elevation model. The morphological aspects of these features obtained from DEMs generated from different sources are compared. Our analysis demonstrates that a 1-meter DEM can provide a terrain characterization that can differentiate underlying lithological types and a very high resolution DEM (0.25 meter) can be used to evaluate fracture patterns.

Cite this paper
Coblentz, D. , Pabian, F. and Prasad, L. (2014) Quantitative Geomorphometrics for Terrain Characterization. International Journal of Geosciences, 5, 247-266. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2014.53026.
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