"Using structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry for interpreting growth strata in Rocas de Benet, Catalan Coastal Range"

Stephen Ball, Honors Thesis 2016

Abstract: Vertical geologic exposures pose numerous barriers to conventional mapping techniques. These outcrops often prove to be inaccessible in the field; additionally, two-dimensional maps do not provide the capability for adequately expressing vertical variations in features. LIDAR surveys deliver useful cliff face imaging, but data acquisition is relatively expensive and the resulting product lacks color information. The properties of 2D maps and LIDAR surveys prove particularly limiting for geologic inquiry at Rocas de Benet in the Catalan Coastal Range of northeastern Spain. While the tectonic and erosional histories of the region have created world-class growth strata exposures in the study area, most of these strata are exposed along standing faces more than a hundred meters tall. Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry offers a relatively low-cost approach to three-dimensional visualization of these structures. Photographs that capture the extent of Rocas de Benet contribute to a dense point cloud reconstruction of the study area. Pertinent growth strata orientation data may be extracted from satisfactory reconstructions and utilized for subsequent analysis of past kinematic folding behavior.

Full thesis available. Contact the Geology Department at 540-458-8800.