Fractal measures of drainage network to investigate surface deformation from remote sensing data: A paradigm from Hindukush (NE-Afghanistan)

  • Syed Amer MahmoodEmail author
  • Richard Gloaguen


This approach represents the relative susceptibility of the topography of the earth to active deformation by means of geometrical distinctiveness of the river networks. This investigation employs the fractal analysis of drainage system extracted from ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM-30m resolution). The objective is to mark active structures and to pinpoint the areas robustly influenced by neotectonics. This approach was examined in the Hindukush, NE-Afghanistan. This region is frequently affected by deadly earthquakes and the modern fault activities and deformation are driven by the collision between the northward-moving Indian subcontinent and Eurasia. This attempt is based on the fact that drainage system is strained to linearize due to neotectonic deformation. Hence, the low fractal dimensions of the Kabul, Panjsher, Laghman, Andarab, Alingar and Kocha Rivers are credited to active tectonics. A comprehensive textural examination is conducted to probe the linearization, heterogeneity and connectivity of the drainage patterns. The aspects for these natural textures are computed by using the fractal dimension (FD), lacunarity (LA) and succolarity (SA) approach. All these methods are naturally interrelated, i.e. objects with similar FD can be further differentiated with LA and/or SA analysis. The maps of FD, LA and SA values are generated by using a sliding window of 50 arc seconds by 50 arc seconds (50″ × 50″). Afterwards, the maps are interpreted in terms of regional susceptibility to neotectonics. This method is useful to pinpoint numerous zones where the drainage system is highly controlled by Hindukush active structures. In the North-Northeast of the Kabul block, we recognized active tectonic blocks. The region comprising, Kabul, Panjsher, Andrab, Alingar and Badakhshan is more susceptible to damaging events. This investigation concludes that the fractal analysis of the river networks is a bonus tool to localize areas vulnerable to deadly incidents influencing the Earth’s topography and consequently intimidate human lives.


Fractal Drainage network Lacunarity Succolarity Surface deformation and Hindukush 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Remote Sensing Group, Institute of GeologyFreiberg University of Mining and TechnologyFreibergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Space ScienceUniversity of the PunjabLahorePakistan

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