Active tectonics, tectonic geomorphology, and fault system dynamics: How geoinformatics can help
Published:January 01, 2006
Active tectonics, tectonic geomorphology, and fault system dynamics investigate deformation of continental crust over late Quaternary to annual time scales. These interdisciplinary endeavors require joint analysis of diverse data sets and model results. Data gathering and analysis driven by EarthScope and other large solid earth science initiatives motivates a discussion of how to apply geoinformatics tools to enhance these efforts. I use three information integration scenarios for earthquake geology site context, basic digital elevation model (DEM) analysis, and tectonic geomorphology (all located in southern California) to show the kinds of analyses, integrations, and visualizations that are commonly employed. Earthquake geology site context along the San Jacinto fault ranges in scale from the San Andreas transform boundary to high-resolution topography and balloon aerial photography. Manipulations of a DEM for the Carrizo Plain illustrate the basic record of deformation and surface processes recorded in the topography. Tectonic geomorphologic investigations at Wheeler Ridge include visualization of imagery and geology with topography, raster calculations to produce a map of local relief, and the integration of fault model calculations for surface uplift. Necessary data sets for these and other scenarios include seismicity; crustal motion; stress; topography; remotely sensed imagery; and maps of Quaternary faults, late Cenozoic subsidence and uplift, and Quaternary geology. Necessary geoinformatics capabilities include visualization and cartography, file format and database conversion, geostatistics, comprehensive data query capability, data capture, field data capture, and physics-based deformation and landscape development models. Collaborations will improve earth scientists' ability to create knowledge, while providing domain challenges for information technologists.