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A test of the three-point vector method to determine strike and dip utilizing digital aerial imagery and topography

By
Leslie E. Hasbargen
Leslie E. Hasbargen
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, State University of New York, College at Oneonta, Oneonta, New York 13820, USA
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Published:
October 01, 2012

This paper focuses on the potential for developing geologic maps using high-resolution aerial imagery and digital elevation data. A key component of geologic mapping discussed herein addresses the determination of geologic layer orientation using a planar approximation (also known as the three-point method). An analytical solution is presented which can be readily implemented in a spreadsheet. The path from initial data collection in a GIS to spreadsheet computation and back to GIS is outlined. The Mecca Hills in southern California serve as a test case, as there is good coverage with high-resolution aerial imagery, a variety of elevation data including airborne LiDAR, and a published geologic map for the area. The comparison between vector-derived strike and dip and traditional field measured strike and dip suggests that remote mapping can successfully capture the regional aspects of the geology in an area. Estimates of rock orientation can be made if the elevation data is accurate and sufficient visual contrast exists in aerial imagery to define mappable features. A comparison shows that United States Geological Survey's National Elevation Data sets and airborne LiDAR can identify regional geologic structures, while Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and ASTER GDEM data yield results that diverge substantially from higher resolution elevation data. Remote mapping using the vector form of the three-point method offers a promising tool for geologic exploration as data sets continue to improve in quality and resolution.

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GSA Special Papers

Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research

Steven J. Whitmeyer
Steven J. Whitmeyer
Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, Memorial Hall, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807, USA
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John E. Bailey
John E. Bailey
Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic Planning, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709, USA
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Declan G. De Paor
Declan G. De Paor
Department of Physics, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA
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Tina Ornduff
Tina Ornduff
Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View, California 94043, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
492
ISBN print:
9780813724928
Publication date:
October 01, 2012

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