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Tectonics from Above: Recent Advances in the Use of High-resolution Topography and Imagery.
The Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
Start Time: 13 Mar 2015 - 10:30
End Time: 13 Mar 2015 - 15:30

An RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by Richard Walker (Oxford), James Hollingsworth (Arup), Ed Nissen (Colorado School of Mines) and Barry Parsons (Oxford)*

*Contact: barry.parsons AT

Topography is one of the most important geophysical observations that can be made at the Earth's surface, but often one that is taken for granted. Recent advances in topographic measurements have significantly improved the spatial resolutions now available to earth scientists; from the 90 m resolution SRTM global DEM widely used now, through the 12 m resolution WorldDEM about to be completed (using data recorded by the TanDEM-X radar mission), to the 1 m DEMs that may be obtained through LiDAR and space/aerial stereo-photogrammetric measurements. Future use of drone technology offers the potential of even higher resolution DEMs from both LiDAR and multi-stereo optical images.

Combining the new high-resolution topography with high-resolution imagery allows the Earth's surface to be explored in a virtual environment. For example, subtle geomorphic features preserved in the landscape can enable us to determine the slip that occurred in recent and past earthquakes. In addition, three-dimensional analysis of high-resolution topographic and optical imagery can significantly enhance the impact and efficiency of geological field measurements; geological dating of geomorphic features is essential in quantifying how faults evolve through time. Furthermore, comparison of pre- and post-earthquake datasets now allows the retrieval of the full 3D deformation field produced by earthquakes (including post-seismic deformation occurring after the earthquake).

The aims of the meeting are two-fold. First, to expose to a wider audience the new data sets (e.g. Tandem-X, LiDAR, Pleiades imagery), and the new methods for generating and analysing these data sets (e.g. photogrammetric DEM extraction, point cloud manipulation), that are currently available for measuring continental topography and surface displacements. Second, to provide a forum for the discussion of new tectonic applications of high-resolution topography and imagery.


10 am Registration

Session 1: Chaired by Richard Walker

10.30 Sebastien Leprince (Caltech)
Tracking 3D ground changes using multi-temporal stereo satellite imagery

11.00 Dimitri Lague (University of Rennes)
Benefits of working directly with raw 3D point clouds in the context of tectonic geomorphology
11.30 Ed Nissen (Colorado School of Mines)
Long-term and single-event earthquake behaviour mapped with individual and repeat lidar datasets
12.00 Thomas Fritz (German Aerospace Centre)
High resolution global DEM data from the TanDEM-X radar mission

12.30 Lunch and Posters


Session 2: Chaired by James Hollingsworth

13.30 Yann Klinger (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris)
Optical image correlation: topography and deformation at high resolution using the Mic-Mac open-source package
14.00 Jean-Philippe Avouac (University of Cambridge)
Fault dynamics and earthquake physics: learning from space observations
14.30 Steven Hosford (CNES, French Space Agency)
Optical satellite data for tectonics: access to SPOT and Pléiades for science
14.45 Yu Zhou (University of Oxford)
Measuring co-seismic vertical displacements with Pleiades stereo imagery
15.00 Austin Elliott (University of Oxford)
Rapid modification of fresh scarps along the 2010 Mw 7.2 El Mayor Cucapah surface rupture measured by repeated terrestrial lidar scans
15.15 David Mackenzie (University of Oxford)
Using Structure from Motion to map fault structure and geomorphology at all scales: a low cost alternative to terrestrial lidar

15.30 Tea in the Geological Society