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Illuminating Northern California’s Active Faults

January 21, 2009

Newly acquired light detection and ranging (lidar) topographic data provide a powerful community resource for the study of landforms associated with the plate boundary faults of northern California (Figure 1). In the spring of 2007, GeoEarthScope, a component of the EarthScope Facility construction project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, acquired approximately 2000 square kilometers of airborne lidar topographic data along major active fault zones of northern California. These data are now freely available in point cloud (x, y, z coordinate data for every laser return), digital elevation model (DEM), and KMZ (zipped Keyhole Markup Language, for use in Google EarthTM and other similar software) formats through the GEON OpenTopography Portal ( Importantly, vegetation can be digitally removed from lidar data, producing high-resolution images (0.5- or 1.0-meter DEMs) of the ground surface beneath forested regions that reveal landforms typically obscured by vegetation canopy (Figure 2)

Publication Year 2009
Title Illuminating Northern California’s Active Faults
DOI 10.1029/2009EO070002
Authors Carol S. Prentice, Christopher J. Crosby, Caroline S. Whitehill, J. Ramon Arrowsmith, Kevin P. Furlong, David A. Philips
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
Index ID 70073702
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center