More than 10,000 km2 of high-resolution, public-domain topography acquired by the Puget Sound Lidar Consortium is revolutionizing investigations of active faulting, continental glaciation, landslides, and surficial processes in the seismically active Puget Lowland. The Lowland-the population and economic center of the Pacific Northwest-presents special problems for hazards investigations, with its young glacial topography, dense forest cover, and urbanization. Lidar mapping during leaf-off conditions has led to a detailed digital model of the landscape beneath the forest canopy. The surface thus revealed contains a rich and diverse record of previously unknown surface-rupturing faults, deep-seated landslides, uplifted Holocene and Pleistocene beaches, and subglacial and periglacial features. More than half a dozen suspected postglacial fault scarps have been identified to date. Five scarps that have been trenched show evidence of large, Holocene, surface-rupturing earthquakes.
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High-resolution lidar topography of the Puget Lowland, Washington - A bonanza for earth science