Morphometric analysis and tectonic interpretation of digital terrain data: A case study

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Tectonic movement along faults is often reflected by characteristic geomorphological features such as linear valleys, ridgelines and slope-breaks, steep slopes of uniform aspect, regional anisotropy and tilt of terrain. Analysis of digital elevation models, by means of numerical geomorphology, provides a means of recognizing fractures and characterizing the tectonics of an area in a quantitative way. The objective of this study is to investigate the use of numerical geomorphometric methods for tectonic geomorphology through a case study. The methodology is based on general geomorphometry. In this study, the basic geometric attributes (elevation, slope, aspect and curvatures) are complemented with the automatic extraction of ridge and valley lines and surface specific points. Evans univariate and bivariate methodology of general geomorphometry is extended with texture (spatial) analysis methods, such as trend, autocorrelation, spectral, and network analysis. Terrain modelling is implemented with the integrated use of: (1) numerical differential geometry; (2) digital drainage network analysis; (3) digital image processing; and (4) statistical and geostatistical analysis. Application of digital drainage network analysis is emphasized. A simple shear model with principal displacement zone with an NE-SW orientation can account for most of the morphotectonic features found in the basin by geological and digital tectonic geomorphology analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-822
Number of pages16
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Digital drainage analysis
  • Digital terrain modelling
  • Morphometry
  • Tectonic geomorphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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