ICG2022-135, updated on 20 Jun 2022
10th International Conference on Geomorphology
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A systematic classification and geomorphological characterisation of artificial grounds in Catalonia

Guillem Subiela, Fus Micheo, and Miquel Vilà
Guillem Subiela et al.
  • Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain (guillem.subiela@icgc.cat)

Anthropic activity modifies the morphology of the ground and affects the physical and chemical properties of natural terrain. In the framework of Urban geomorphology, a characterization of artificial interventions is essential in terms of engineering, geological risks and other environmental concerns in urban areas. Nonetheless, a catalogue of anthropic grounds is scarcely developed in Catalonia.

On this basis, one of the lines of work of the Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya has been the development of diverse geological and geomorphological mapping projects in Catalan territory over the last decade: 1:25.000 scale Geological Map, 1:25.000 scale active processes and recent human activity (Geoanthropic Map) and 1:5.000 scale Urban Geological Map. Each project incorporates artificial-ground information and other relevant data, which either is related to bedrock materials and Quaternary deposits, active geological processes, geotechnical information and so on.

Heretofore, the information of artificial grounds, which comes from the aforementioned projects, covers an extension of 12.500 km2. Nevertheless, it constitutes slightly more than a third of Catalan territory (32.108,2 km2). Lately, within the framework of these three projects, a systemic classification of artificial-ground information is being developed. The aim consists of determining diverse anthropic terrains across Catalan territory in the short term.

The methodology involves an analysis of available reference information sources and observations during fieldwork. Basically, these documents are topographic maps, aerial photographs, geothematic maps, different digital elevation models (from 15 to 2-meter resolution) and other historical cartographic documents. As a matter of fact, the historiographic information reveals how land cover, landscape and environment have been changing due to anthropic activity over the years.

Throughout this analytical process, the following artificial grounds have been determined: built-up areas, agricultural areas, worked grounds (e.g., related to mineral excavations and transport infrastructures), engineered embankments, infilled excavations and other more singular anthropogenic deposits. In fact, anthropic activity shows particular geomorphological features on the terrain, which are observable in digital elevation models, such as artificial escarpments on slopes, flat grounds or shoreline modifications due to river channelling or port infrastructures.

In view of the above, the presentation will consist of artificial-ground mapping status, a brief explanation of the methodology used and foremost results. Moreover, considerations will be drawn concerning how to approach the digital capture of artificial-ground information. All these artificial ground characterizations are focused on land-use planning of the whole territory. Especially, those urban and specific areas where anthropic activity has taken place or intense human activity is foreseen.

How to cite: Subiela, G., Micheo, F., and Vilà, M.: A systematic classification and geomorphological characterisation of artificial grounds in Catalonia, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-135, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-135, 2022.