Corinth Terraces Revisited in light of Digital Elevation Models

Several years ago, I posted a couple of pieces about the value of new satellite imagery for creating high-resolution topographic maps and digital elevation models of the Corinthia and the northeast Peloponnese. The imagery just continues to improve and with it new applications and potential for understanding landscape histories. This multi-Terracesauthored article published in September in Geotectonic Research revisits the geomorphic character and history of marine terraces of the Corinthia in light of newly available super-resolution satellite imagery:
  • De Gelder, G, D Fernández-Blanco, R Lacassin, R Armijo, A Delorme, J Jara-Muñoz, and D Melnick. “Corinth Terraces Re-Visited: Improved Paleoshoreline Determination Using Pleiades-DEMs.” Geotectonic Research 97, no. 1 (September 1, 2015): 12–14. doi:10.1127/1864-5658/2015-06.

As the authors argue in this brief (published conference) paper, available here, new Digital Elevation Models, which are accurate to within half a meter, allow significant enhancements over previous studies in understanding the history “of one of the most extensive and well-preserved terrace sequences in Greece.” So the authors conclude,

 With the quality of the Pleiades DEMs we are no longer limited by resolution and accuracy of the topographic information, since uncertainties in the relative contributions of erosion, climate, and tectonics now outweigh those in the data itself, providing an encouraging opportunity to re-evaluate the area. The quality of the Corinth DEM in combination with the TerraceM interface allows us to (locally) detect more terrace sub-levels compared to previous studies, and improve our constraints in finding the paleoshorelines. Apart from terrace analysis, possible future applications of these Pleiades DEMs –both in Corinth and in other locations– include the analyses of (active) faults, river drainages and sedimentary basins, all of which can greatly benefit from this new generation of high-quality topographic data.

Here’s the abstract for those who just want the summary:

The newest generation of satellites have greatly improved the capabilities of optical imagery over the last decade. Ground resolution has increased by one order of magnitude (to sub-metric pixel images), and improved sensors allow images to be located with an absolute accuracy of within a few meters. Better-resolved images facilitate refined tectonic studies of faults, basins, terraces, and other geomorphic features as it provides the opportunity to extract detailed topographic information. We have developed high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) in eight locations in Greece from tri-stereo satellite images acquired by the new Pleiades platform of CNES. With 0.5m resolution, these DEMs are state-of-the-art in comparison to previous DEMs made from satellite imagery. In this study we explore the potential of one of these DEMs, in the eastern Gulf of Corinth, for the analysis of a flight of marine terraces.

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