A multiscale approach to assess geomorphological processes in a semiarid badland area (Ebro Depression, Spain)

V. Ferrer, P. Errea, E. Alonso, E. Nadal-Romero, A. Gómez-Gutiérrez


In this paper, three methods (Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS), terrestrial Structure from Motion photogrammetry (SfM) and aerial SfM photogrammetry with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)) were evaluated and compared to produce high resolution point clouds and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) in a semiarid, complex badland area (Los Aguarales) with tourism activities. Geomorphological processes and dynamics were studied at different spatial scales. The preliminary results showed the possibilities of a multiscale approach, using various non-invasive techniques, to assess geomorphological processes. The high resolution of the point clouds, obtained with TLS and terrestrial SfM photogrammetry, allowed preliminary identification of numerous spatial details, although no relevant topographical changes were detected during a short, wet spring period (with rainfall of 200 mm). UAV images allowed work at larger scales (catchment), mapping piping features, and could be seen as a worthwhile tool for time-effective data acquisition from larger areas. The application of different technologies and a multiscale approach to generate high resolution DEMs is a useful technique when carrying out geomorphological studies in semiarid badland areas. However, long term studies will be necessary to verify the suitability of these techniques in such complex landscapes, and quantify topographical changes and erosion rates. Finally, the information obtained with these tools could be used to promote the study area as an interesting geomorphosite with opportunities for tourism.


badlands; piping; Terrestrial Laser Scanner; SfM photogrammetry; UAVs

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18172/cig.3139


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