Classifying Slopes in Sensitive Volcanic Terrain Using Aerial Lidar Data

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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Natural Resource Management, Flagstaff, Arizona

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, located near Flagstaff, Arizona, is composed of many unique and sensitive volcanic features. Recreational activities, such as off-trail hiking, may degrade these features, especially on steep and barren slopes of unconsolidated volcanic scoria, cinder, and ash. Many of these features are too small to be represented on existing 10-m resolution elevation models. Funding from the NPS Intermountain Region Natural Resource Small Park Program was used to acquire new  aerial lidar data over approximately 10,000 acres at an average density of 8 points per meter. The 0.5-m resolution data were classified to generate bare earth terrain models. Based upon observations of erosion on existing trails, areas classified with slope exceeding a threshold of 14 percent were identified as vulnerable to erosion. Monument managers are using this information to plan trails and backcountry access.  The lidar dataset covered the entire monument area and has potential uses for other programs such as cultural resources preservation, vegetation management, and planning for new facilities.

SUCR Lidar

General analysis sequence used to identify vulnerable areas.


Author Name
Micheal M. Jones
Author Email