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 Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis
13.12.2018 | National Science Foundation

nachricht NSF-supported scientists present new research results on Earth's critical zone
13.12.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researcher deciphers flows that help bacteria feed and organize biofilms

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>