LiDAR Analysis of Hector Mine Fault Scarp Degradation

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Xiao Zhang1, Kenneth W Hudnut2, Craig L Glennie1, Frank Sousa3, Joann M Stock3 and Sinan O Akciz4, (1)National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, Houston, TX, United States, (2)USGS Pasadena Field Office, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (4)Univ California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States
The Mw 7.1 right-lateral strike-slip Hector Mine earthquake occurred on 10/16/1999 and generated an approximately 48 km long surface rupture. The Lavic Lake fault and the central section of the Bullion fault and several lesser faults ruptured, characterized by maximum strike slip of 5.25 ±0.85 m [Treiman, 2002]. As a very remote and un-populated area of the Mojave Desert, southern California, the study area is highly favorable for fault degradation studies with essentially no influence from vegetation or human activity. Airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) are used to evaluate the form and rate of degradation of scarps along the Hector Mine fault rupture, California, USA. Airborne LiDAR data were acquired in 2000 and 2012 and these data were differenced using a newly developed algorithm for point cloud matching, which is improved over prior methods by accounting for scan geometry error sources. Using the bi-temporal data (scrutinizing profiles from 2000 & 2012), parameters for a fault scarp diffusion model are estimated and then a simulation result is generated to predict the evolved landform shape at the time of the 2014 TLS data set. Results are checked against TLS 2014 data collected at five key sites within the maximum slip field study area. In the past, scarp degradation has been mostly investigated using traditional survey methods (e.g., measuring elevations of points in a line perpendicular to the scarp) that require time-consuming field work and tend to introduce bias and variance due to data limitations. Airborne, mobile and terrestrial LiDAR data offer great potential to precisely document and rigorously determine morphologic degradation of fault scarps [Hilley et al., 2010]. In the present study, a unique set of data have been acquired at three points in time across several classic types of fault scarps and offset fault zone features. This allows progress in assessing the fitting of functions and estimating time constants of fault scarp degradation, with potential for widespread utility and significance in paleoseismology.