Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Elucidating Environmental History with 100 Million Laser Beams

29.04.2013
Laser scanning and subsurface geodata fused for 3D reconstruction of karst depressions on Crete

By combining high-resolution surface data obtained from laser scanning with subsurface geodata, scientists from Heidelberg University have succeeded for the first time in providing a full picture of so-called karst depressions on the island of Crete, including a three-dimensional view into the subsurface structure of these funnel-shaped hollows.


Digital 3D model of two dolines on Crete explored via high-precision laser scanning and subsurface measurement procedures. Vegetation such as olive trees and the surface of the soil were virtually removed for the models to provide insights into subsurface structure. Figure: Department of Geoinformatics

This new 3D representation method has been developed under the leadership of junior professor Dr. Bernhard Höfle at Heidelberg University’s Institute of Geography. It is ideal for in-depth analyses at the interface between geosciences and ancient studies. The sediment infills of karst depressions provide terrestrial archives of great value for the reconstruction of environmental scenarios from the past.

For thousands of years, karst landforms and particularly karst depressions like dolines, for example, have been important sites of human husbandry. There is evidence from as far back as the 2nd century BC that such depressions were used for agriculture and livestock breeding, including in the mountainous regions of Crete. Due to their funnel-shaped form, dolines serve as “material traps” in which loose sediments, archaeological finds or volcanic ashes can accumulate. “These infills can supply important information on former climatic conditions, vegetation structure and also on human impact through land use”, says Dr. Christoph Siart, a fellow researcher of Prof. Höfle’s.

So far, say the Heidelberg geographers, karst depressions have usually only been examined in connection with drilling of sediment cores. These provide insights into the subsurface structure, albeit of a discrete nature, and have been drawn upon in conjunction with geomorphological surface finds to propose explanations for the genesis and function of dolines. With the aid of the new 3D data-modelling method developed in Heidelberg, the scientists have now succeeded in combining the two-dimensional subsurface data with high-resolution 3D surface data. To accomplish this, surface topography data were acquired with the aid of terrestrial laser scanning. Two-dimensional views of various cross-sections of the subsurface of the sediment-filled dolines were achieved with a combination of various geophysical measuring procedures.

The fusion of these data now makes it feasible to undertake soundly substantiated geomorphometric analyses. “For example, we can determine the volume or undertake a digital measurement of the depressions in a virtual three-dimensional model”, says Prof. Höfle. “That means we have created the basis for first-ever statements on the genesis, the sediment infill process and the age of the dolines. This is of immense significance for the reconstruction of the environmental history because it supplies a holistic view of geomorphological forms via a combination of surface and subsurface data and thus helps to understand the local processes that ultimately led to the formation of the landscape as we know it today.”

Data collection and methodological development took place in the framework of the projects “Reconstruction of Holocene Environmental Change on Crete” and “Geoinformatics and 3D Geoinformation Technology” conducted in the physical geography and geoinformatics research groups of Heidelberg University’s Institute of Geography. For more information, go to http://giscience.uni-hd.de.

Original publication
C. Siart, M. Forbriger, E. Nowaczinski, S. Hecht & B. Höfle: Fusion of multi-resolution surface (terrestrial laser scanning) and subsurface geodata (ERT, SRT) for karst landform investigation and geomorphometric quantification; Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (2013), doi: 10.1002/esp.3394

Contact
Junior professor Dr. Bernhard Höfle
Institute of Geography and
Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE)
Phone: +49 6221 54-5594
hoefle@uni-heidelberg.de

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: +49 6221 54-2311
presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-heidelberg.de
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9jgPC6zGI8

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>