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 World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered
18.01.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht A close-up look at an uncommon underwater eruption
11.01.2018 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>