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30 December 1997 Using laser altimetry to detect topographic change at Long Valley caldera, California
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Long Valley caldera, California, is a site of extensive volcanism, persistent seismicity, and uplift of a resurgent dome, currently at a rate of approximately 3 cm/year. Airborne laser altimetry was used to determine the surface topography of the region in 1993. A repeat mission occurred in 1995. Three different laser altimeters were flown, dubbed ATLAS, SLICER and RASCAL. Data processing consists of the combination of the aircraft trajectory and attitude data with the laser range, the determination of an atmospheric delay, laser pulse timing errors, laser system biases, and data geolocation to obtain the position of the laser spot on the ground. Results showed that using the ATLAS and SLICER instruments, the elevation of an overflown lake is determined to precisions of 3.3 cm and 2.9 cm from altitudes of 500 m and 3 km above the ground, and approximately 10 cm using the RASCAL instrument from 500 m above ground. Comparison with tide gauge data showed the laser measurements are able to resolve centimeter- level changes in the lake elevation over time. Repeat pass analysis of tracks over flat surfaces indicate no systematic biases affect the measurement procedure of the ATLAS and SLICER instruments. Comparison of GPS and laser-derived elevations of easily-identifiable features in the caldera confirm the horizontal accuracy of the measurement is within the diameter of the laser footprint, and vertical accuracy is within the error inherent in the measurement. Crossover analysis shows that the standard error of the means at track intersection points within the caldera and dome (i.e., where zero and close to the maximum amount of uplift is expected) are about 1 cm, indicating elevation change at the 3 cm/year level should be detectable. We demonstrate one of the powerful advantages of scanning laser altimetry over other remote sensing techniques; the straightforward creation of precise digital elevation maps of overflown terrain. Initial comparison of the 1993 - 1995 data indicates uplift occurred, but filtering is required to remove vegetation effects. Although research continues to utilize the full potential of laser altimetry data, the results constitute a successful demonstration that the technique may be used to perform geodetic monitoring of surface topographic change.
© (1997) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Michelle A. Hofton, J.-B. Minster, J. R. Ridgway, J. Bryan Blair, D. L. Rabine, Jack L. Bufton, and N. P. Williams "Using laser altimetry to detect topographic change at Long Valley caldera, California", Proc. SPIE 3222, Earth Surface Remote Sensing, (30 December 1997);

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