Abstract

We propose stereopaired morphometric protection index red relief image maps (Stereo MPI‐RRIMs) for effective visualization of high‐resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) to interpret and map small tectonic geomorphic features along active faults. Stereo MPI‐RRIMs resolve problems of an original red relief image map (RRIM) in active fault studies and allow simultaneous expression of all of the three basic topographic parameters of elevation, slope, and convexity and concavity with minimal degradation of original data quality. Although stereographic viewing may require some practice and/or supporting devices, this is a big advantage over the most often used DEM visualization of shaded relief maps and slope maps, both of which only represent one aspect of 3D morphology. We also applied the visualization to DEMs of two active tectonic areas and found that Stereo MPI‐RRIMs vividly visualize various tectonic geomorphic features and even errors from DEM production processing, thereby maximizing the potential of the digital topographic data for active fault studies. We argue that those who use DEMs need to pay more attention to DEM visualization, and our proposed method, along with our simple programs, would aid in more complete interpretation and mapping of small tectonic geomorphic features.

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