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Terrain Modelling and the Impact of Lava Erosion in a Neotectonic Landscape: the Case of the South West Flank of Mount Cameroon, West Africa

University of Salford, United Kingdom

Key words: Mount Cameroon, Lava Erosion, Lineament, Digital Elevation Model, GIS, Neotectonic Terrain

The occurrence of crustal movements and frequent seismic events means that neotectonic terrains are subject to the development of natural hazards. Modelling the irregular shapes of volcanic regions, typical neotectonic terrains, such as the southwest flank of Mount Cameroon is a complex problem. The orientation of the landscape has a major impact on the hydrological, geomorphologic, and tectonic processes active in this volcanic region. The spatial distribution of topographic attributes can often be used as an indirect measure of the spatial variability of these processes and allows them to be mapped and analysed using relatively simple GIS techniques. Many geographic information systems are being developed that store topographic information as the primary data for analysing lava flow and erosion. Digital elevation models are the primary data used in the analysis of the trend of lava flows in this neotectonic terrain.

This paper examines surface elevation based on samples of terrain modelling and field survey. Two competing structures have been used for digital representation in this study: Lattices and Triangular Irregular Networks (TINs). GIS based on digital elevation models offer the potential to map lineaments and slope angles to predict surface processes such as lava flow and erosion. The prediction of flow directions by the terrain model and subsequent erosion are correlated with field results.