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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 18 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 18 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).

Quantifying sediment mass redistribution from joint time-lapse gravimetry and photogrammetry surveys

Maxime Mouyen1, Philippe Steer2, Kuo-Jen Chang3, Nicolas Le Moigne4, Cheinway Hwang5, Wen-Chi Hsieh6, Louise Jeandet2, Laurent Longuevergne2, Ching-Chung Cheng5, Jean-Paul Boy7, and Frédéric Masson7 Maxime Mouyen et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala Space Observatory, SE-439 92 Onsala, Sweden
  • 2Univ Rennes, CNRS, Géosciences Rennes, UMR 6118, 35000 Rennes, France
  • 3Department of Civil Engineering, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei 10608, Taiwan, R.O.C.
  • 4Géosciences Montpellier, UMR CNRS/UM2 5243, Université Montpellier 2, CNRS, Montpellier, France
  • 5Department of Civil Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan, R.O.C.
  • 6Industrial Technology Research Institute, Hsinchu 310, Taiwan, R.O.C.
  • 7Institut de Physique du Globe de Strasbourg, CNRS – Université de Strasbourg UMR 7516 – Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre, 67084 Strasbourg CEDEX, France

Abstract. The accurate quantification of sediment mass redistribution is central to the study of surface processes, yet it remains a challenging task. Here we test a new combination of terrestrial gravity and drone photogrammetry methods to quantify sediment redistribution over a 1-km2 area. Gravity and photogrammetry are complementary methods. Indeed, gravity changes are sensitive to mass changes and to their location. Thus, by using photogrammetry data to constrain this location, the sediment mass can be properly estimated from the gravity data. We carried out 3 joint gravity-photogrammetry surveys, once a year in 2015, 2016 and 2017 over a 1-km2 area in southern Taiwan featuring both a wide meander of the Laonong River and a slow landslide. We first removed the gravity changes from non-sediment effects, such as tides, groundwater, surface displacements and air pressure variations. Then, we inverted the density of the sediment, with an attempt to distinguish the density of the landslide from the density of the river sediments. We eventually estimate an average loss of 4.7 ± 0.4 × 109 kg of sediment from 2015 to 2017, mostly due to the slow landslide. Although the gravity devices used in this study are expensive and need week-long surveys, new instrumentation progresses shall enable dense and continuous measurements at lower cost, making this method relevant to improve the estimation of erosion, sediment transfer and deposition in landscapes.

Maxime Mouyen et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Maxime Mouyen et al.
Maxime Mouyen et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Land's erosion creates sediment particles that are redistributed from mountains to oceans, under the action of climate, tectonics or human activities. But measuring the mass of redistributed sediment is difficult. Here we describe a new method combining gravity and photogrammetry measures, which allows us to weigh the mass of sediment redistributed by a landslide and a river in Taiwan from 2015 to 2017. Trying this method in other regions shall help to better understand erosion processes.
Land's erosion creates sediment particles that are redistributed from mountains to oceans, under...