Characterization of Mass Wasting Through the Spectral Analysis of LiDAR Imagery: Owyhee River, Southeastern Oregon

Christopher Earl Markley
November 2013


Quantifying landslide character is an important aspect of understanding hillslope-channel interactions. Spectral analysis of high-resolution, LiDAR derived, DEMs was carried out following methods described by Booth et al. (2009) to determine the characteristic spectral signature inherent in different styles of landslides in the Owyhee River Canyon in southeastern Oregon. The main factor in landslide generation in this location is a lithologic contact in which a coherent basaltic caprock overlies relatively weak sediments where most of the landslide failure surfaces originated. Changes in spectral power distribution through time were quantified by comparing a sequence of adjacent rotational landslides of apparent different ages. 2D DFTs were successfully used to analyze the topography of landslides in three different comparisons; 1) differentiation between two different styles of landslides, 2) an area of similar landslide failure, and 3) direct comparison of two similar landslides to test if relative age can be determined using these methods.

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