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Quantifying Surface Roughness and Geologic Composition of Alluvial Fans in Death Valley as Analogs for Planetary Landforms
In this ongoing research project, I have been working with data taken from several alluvial fans in Death Valley to find terrestrial analogs for the fluvial environments on Saturn’s moon Titan. This process has two distinct parts, one of which has already been completed.
In the first part of the project, I was given several image sets of regions in several different alluvial fans in death valley. Using these images and the software Regard3D and MeshLab, I was able to construct point clouds and 3D meshes of these surfaces which could then be analyzed. For each area, a one and two-meter radius (when applicable) selection of the region was taken that had the densest data points. One of the main datasets taken from these completed surfaces was the rugosity, or roughness, of the surfaces. These will eventually be compared to the roughness of the fluvial measurements on Titan. The completed surfaces were then saved as .obj files and exported to MATLAB where the rugosity could be calculated again and compared to the result found in MeshLab.
The second part of this project involves mapping the composition of each alluvial fan and their respective catchment areas used in the project. To do so, I found several preexisting maps of the geography of death valley and overlaid these images onto Google Earth. This allowed me to find the composition of the fans and their catchment areas. I also measured the percentage of each geologic formation of the catchment areas using Google Maps.
College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences > Astronomy and Planetary Sciences > Poster Presentation