LIDAR AND LANDSCAPES: EXAMPLES AND STRATEGIES APPLIED FOR GEOLOGIC MAPPING INVESTIGATIONS IN NEW YORK STATE
The unprecedented resolution of terrain models constructed from LIDAR data has aided significantly in the identification of subtle Late Pleistocene landforms. These include many features that may only have as little as one meter of relief on the landscape such as ice marginal positions, ice walled lake plains, meltwater flow paths, shoreline and near shore deposits. In other locations the high resolution data allows for comparative geomorphic analyses of landscapes and paleo-ice flow reconstructions or isostatic corrections.
Similarly high resolution data provides an increased efficiency in identification of geologically sensitive terrains that include features associated with karst, landslides and solifluction. Recent hurricanes resulted in extreme flooding and landslide activity in numerous NY communities. Civic leaders are increasingly recognizing the need for detailed geologic maps to identify problematic locations and guide planning practices. LIDAR data sets coupled with detailed geologic maps provide a blue print to address geologic hazards.
LIDAR provides the resolution to develop tailored research strategies to address specific geologic questions. Familiarity with LIDAR and newly recognized glacial landforms has allowed the development of our “first trap hypothesis” to guide the detection and sampling strategies for determining coring locations with higher likelihood of having preserved datable materials to improve age constraints. Similar strategies have been developed to recognize potential locations for aggregate extraction operations. LIDAR data has revolutionized and greatly improved efficiency and geomorphic interpretation of geologic mapping in NY.