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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2020-55
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2020-55
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  13 Jul 2020

13 Jul 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Disaggregating surface change mechanisms of a rock glacier using terrestrial laser scanning point clouds acquired at different time scales

Veit Ulrich1, Jack G. Williams1, Vivien Zahs1, Katharina Anders1,2, Stefan Hecht3, and Bernhard Höfle1,2 Veit Ulrich et al.
  • 13D Geospatial Data Processing Group (3DGeo), Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University, Germany
  • 2Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR), Heidelberg University, Germany
  • 3Geomorphology and Soil Geography Research Group, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University, Germany

Abstract. Topographic change at a given location usually results from multiple processes operating over different timescales. However, interpretations of surface change are often based upon single values of movement, measured over a specified time period and in a single direction. This work presents a method to help separate surface change mechanisms related to the deformation of an active rock glacier, drawing on terrestrial lidar monitoring at sub-monthly intervals. We derive 3D topographic changes across the Äußeres Hochebenkar rock glacier in the Ötztal Alps. These are presented as the relative contribution of surface change during a three-week period of snow-free conditions (2018) to the annual surface change (2017–2018). They are also separated according to the direction perpendicular to the local rock glacier surface (using point cloud distance computation) and the direction of rock glacier flow, indicated by movement of individual boulders. In a 1500 m2 sample area in the lower tongue section of the rock glacier, the contribution of the three-week period to the annual change perpendicular to the surface is 20 %, as compared to 6 % in the direction of rock glacier flow. This shows that different directions of surface change are dominant at different times of the year. Our results demonstrate the benefit of more frequent lidar monitoring and, critically, the requirement of novel approaches to detecting change, as a step towards interpreting the mechanisms that underlie the surface change of rock glaciers.

Veit Ulrich et al.

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Veit Ulrich et al.

Veit Ulrich et al.

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Latest update: 29 Oct 2020
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Short summary
In this work, we use 3D point clouds to detect topographic changes across the surface of a rock glacier. These changes are presented as the relative contribution of surface change during a three-week period of snow-free conditions to the annual surface change. By comparing these different time periods and looking at change in different directions, we show that different directions of surface change are dominant at different times of the year. This demonstrates the benefit of freguent monitoring.
In this work, we use 3D point clouds to detect topographic changes across the surface of a rock...
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