Volume XIX |

GRASS GIS for topographic and geophysical mapping of the Peru-Chile Trench

Abstract: The study area is located along the western continental margins of South America, Peru-Chile Trench south-east Pacific Ocean, geographically encompasses 90° to 60°W longitude and 55°S to 0° latitude. The study aims to perform a spatial analysis using GRASS GIS approach applied for processing and visualizing topographic and geophysical data on the study area. Data include following raster grids: topographic SRTM_15PLUS raster grid with 15 arc-second resolution, geoid model (EGM96), geophysical fields and gravity maps (marine free-air gravity and vertically corrected free-air gravity). The thematic grids were mapped by GRASS GIS modules and visualized for comparative analysis. Spatial analysis included plotting slope aspect, profile curvature, terrain elevation and modeled topographic classes based on the neighborhood analysis. The results include visualized geophysical and topographic maps of the study area showing correlation between the geophysical fields and topographic elevation. The variety of forms of the submarine relief of the Pacific Ocean seafloor was formed as a result of complex factors: tectonic movements, dislocations, active volcanism, geologic variations in rock density, which is reflected in visualized gravity and geoid maps. The actuality of the study is explained by high potential commercial interests in deep-water mineral resource deposits, oil and gas, which make ocean seafloor studies one of the most promising topics in geoscience. At the same time, the need for programming applications for big data analysis in geosciences requires testing advanced scripting approaches in cartography. Therefore, the current paper presents a multi-disciplinary approach combining geological analysis with technical cartographic aspects of data analysis and visualization.