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Abstract

New high-resolution surveying techniques allow subaqueous geomorphology to be investigated in great detail. Such analyses are important as the morphologies are often indicative of past processes, including mass movements. For peri-alpine Lake Zurich, many mass-wasting events have occurred in the past millennia. While the ages of these events are known from past studies on the respective deposits in the lake basin, the surface expressions and distribution of the respective features on the slopes have not been extensively described. Here we quantitatively characterize the morphologic features on the entire lake floor. A total of 50 subaqueous landslides are morphologically identified in a high-resolution digital bathymetric model (DBM), mapped and characterized using a geographic information system (GIS). Many slides show relatively small erosion areas (<0.05 km2) and are located in shallow water (<10 m water depth). The roughness of the individual landslide-translation areas is quantified using the standard deviation of a measure called bathymetric position index (BPI) and related to the slides ages. The DBM allows the detection of traces of mass-movements dating back to c. 5000 cal years BP. Our results demonstrate that morphometric analyses on a high-resolution DBM can contribute to a better understanding of sublacustrine mass movements.

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