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See the Strange, Beautiful Landscapes Below Foliage and Buildings Revealed by Lasers


Geological Survey of Washington

Amazing images taken from airplanes using forest penetrating radar are mapping the geology of Washington state.

Intriguing, artistic, beautiful and absolutely strange, Presentation “The Bare Earth” on the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website uses shading and added color to present underlying geological features such as lava flows, glacial moraines, drumlins, tsunami floods, landslides, eruptions, faults, patterns of rivers and much, much more.

Geological Survey of Washington

LIDAR, which stands for Light, Detection and Range, is a laser-guided mapping system that shoots billions of laser pulses at an object and, like sonar or radar, collects information about the object as it rays return.

Geological Survey of Washington

The information in this case is the time it takes for each pulse to arrive.

MORE: After decades of work, scientists have mapped the entire surface of the Moon for the first time

Some of the light reflects off the treetops, but enough will hit the ground below to reveal the underlying geography as if the trees simply didn’t exist.

Geological Survey of Washington

The light also penetrates the soil strata, meaning that while the first return pulse reading indicates the surface topography, the final return pulse is the bare earth below, providing unmatched images of the landscape.

Geological Survey of Washington

This technology was used to produce a fascinating series of images by a cartographer from the United States Geological Survey of the Mississippi.

Geological Survey of Washington

LIDAR revealed hundreds of years of subtle changes in the flow, flooding and curvature of the mighty river.

Geological Survey of Washington

Next a deadly landslide in 2014 that destroyed parts of a small town about 50 miles outside of Seattle, the Geological Survey of Washington realized it was up to them to map potential landslide sites to provide an early warning to the people living there .

Geological Survey of Washington

As it turned out, the same geological and climatic hazard discovery method using LIDAR can help state authorities plan for all kinds of emergencies, such as volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, and more.

RELATED: The map lets you see how your hometown has moved through 750 million years of continental drift

The Bare Earth presentation records all the findings that LIDAR has made in a state that has a highly varied geomorphology – the change and evolution of the surface and underlying geology over time.

Geological Survey of Washington

It records the use of LIDAR to map the state’s landslides, geological curiosities, bedrock, faults, range, and erosion from tsunamis, volcanoes, glaciers, and waterways.

Geological Survey of Washington

You will definitely want to spend a little time looking at the images.

Geological Survey of Washington

SHARE the stunning images online with friends …





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