Airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM) of the Puget Lowland conducted by TerraPoint LLC for the Purget Sound Lidar Concortium (PSLC), has been successful in revealing Holocene fault scarps and lendsliders hidden beneath the dense, temperate rain forest cover and in quantifying shoreline terrace uplift. Expanding the PSLC efforts, NASA-USGS collaboration is now focusing on topographic mapping of seismogenic zones adjacent to volcanois in the western Cascades range in order to assess the presence of active faulting and tectonic deformation, better define the extend of lahars and understand their flow processes, and characterize landslide occurrence. Mapping of the western Rainier zone (WRZ) was conducted by TerraPoint in late 2002, after leaf fall and before snow accumulation. The WRZ is a NNW-trending, approx. 30 km-long zone of seismicity west of Mount Rainier National Park. The Puget Lowland ALSM methods were modified to accommodate challenges posed by the steep, high relief terrian. The laser data, acquired with a density of approx. 2 pulses /sq m, was filtered to identify returns from the ground from which a bare Earth digital elevation model (DEM) was produced with a grid size of 1.8 m. The RMS elevation accuracy of the DEM in flat, unvegetated areas is approx. 10cm based on consistency between overlapping flight swaths and comparisons to ground control points. The resulting DEM substantially improves upon Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and USGS photogrammetric mapping. For example, the DEM defines the size and spatial distribution of flood erratics left by the Electron lahar and of megaclasts within the Round Pass lahar, important for characterizing the lahar hydraulics. A previously unknown lateral levee on the Round Pass lahar is also revealed. In addition, to illustrating geomorfic feature within the WRZ, future plans for laser mapping of the Saint Helens and Darrington seismic zones will be described.
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
2003 Seattle Annual Meeting; 2-5 Nov. 2003; Seattle, WA; United States