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Application of geographic information systems techniques to assess natural hazards in the east-central Sierra Nevada
AuthorVarnum, Nicholas C
Geological Sciences and Engineering
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Natural systems are inter-functional as are the hazards they impose. Multi-hazard mapping depends on integrated analysis and spacial distribution of physical and biological systems operating within a particular environment. This study investigates the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), with its explicit focus on spatial entities and relationships, to assess slope movement susceptibility and to identify avalanche starting zones and the minimum extent of variable source areas. The attributes used to evaluate these hazards are based primarily on literature review. For slope movements susceptibility, these include bedrock, slope, aspect, soil moisture and slope movement distribution. The attributes for avalanche staring zones include vegetation, slope and elevation. The minimum extent of variable source areas is determined by the presence of phreatophytic vegetation. Data for the attributes were incorporated into digital image data planes for use with IDIMS software on a VAX 11/780 computer. Data sources included digitized maps of geology, slope movements, Digital Elevation Models (DEM) and unsupervised classification of LANDSAT TM data. Slope movement susceptibility classes were determined by the percentage of slope movement area within an area of combined attributes. Avalanche starting zones were identified by the combined presence of barren ground or low-growing vegetation, slopes between 30 and 50 degrees and elevations above 2280 m. The presence of phreatophytic vegetation determined the minimum extent of variable source areas. Slope movement susceptibility classes, avalanche starting zones and the minimum extent of variable source areas were plotted at 1:24,000 scale for use as a potential management tool for regional assessment of these hazards.
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Geographic Information Systems
slope movement susceptibility
avalanche starting zones
variable source areas
slope movement distribution
digital image data planes
LANDSAT TM data
Mackay Science Project
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