Characterisation of the surface morphology of an alpine alluvial fan using airborne LiDAR
- CNR-IRPI, Corso Stati Uniti 4 35127 Padova, Italy
Abstract. Alluvial fans of alpine torrents are both natural deposition areas for sediment discharged by floods and debris flows, and preferred sites for agriculture and settlements. Hazard assessment on alluvial fans depends on proper identification of flow processes and their potential intensity. This study used LiDAR data to examine the morphology of the alluvial fan of a small alpine stream (Moscardo Torrent, Eastern Italian Alps). A high-resolution DTM from LiDAR data was used to calculate a shaded relief map, plan curvature and an index of topographic roughness based on the standard deviation of elevation within a moving window. The surface complexity of the alluvial fan, also influenced by human activities, clearly arose from the analysis. The surface roughness, defined here as the local topography variability, is compared with a previous classification of the fan surface based on field surveys. The results demonstrate that topographic analysis of ground based LiDAR DTM can be a useful tool to objectively investigate fan morphology and hence alluvial fan hazard assessment.