SRTM-based geomorphometrics for detecting neotectonic deformation: a cost-effective alternative to InSAR in vegetated regions?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


This study examines whether Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) can be used to highlight zones of neotectonic deformation. Away from well-exposed coastal zones, the assessment of regional tectonic deformation is often hampered by dense vegetation, steep-sided high relief and rugged, poorly-accessible terrain. Such regions are of prior interest in examining and understanding their neotectonic status. The test region for this study is the island of Crete, located in the outer forearc of the Hellenic subduction zone, associated with collision of the African plate and the Eurasian plate. This tectonic setting affects the island’s landscape, with mountainous relief and geomorphological processes that are strongly influenced by neotectonic deformation of the ground surface. A set of geomorphometric analyses of SRTM DEMs (such as asymmetry factor, mountain front sinuosity, stream-length gradient index, amplitude relief etc.), were compared with drainage basin geomorphological variations. Some of the characteristic features associated with the deformation of the bedrock and the landscape of the study area were: i) tectonically active mountain fronts; ii) uplifted and tilted blocks and; iii) migration of streams due to tectonic control. Consideration of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) approach combines various extracted SRTM DEM-based geomorphometrics for detecting zones of neotectonic deformation. The methodology developed in this study provides a low-cost reconnaissance tool for assessing regional tectonic regimes and zones of neotectonic activity. It can provide a useful alternative to Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data for highlighting zones of neotectonic deformation, particularly where vegetation or snow cover limits the effectiveness of InSAR. © (2013) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFirst international conference on remote sensing and geoinformation of the environment
EditorsDiofantos G. Hadjimitsis, Kyriacos Themistocleous , Silas Michaelides, George Papadavid
Place of PublicationBellingham
PublisherSociety of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers
ISBN (Print)9780819496386
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventFirst International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of the Environment (RSCy2013) - Coral Beach Hotel, Pafos, Cyprus
Duration: 8 Apr 201310 Apr 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE


ConferenceFirst International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of the Environment (RSCy2013)


  • Multi-criteria decision analysis
  • neotectonic activity
  • geomorphometrics
  • geoinformatics

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