Visualizing impact structures using high-resolution LiDAR-derived DEMs: A case study of two structures in Missouri


Evidence suggests that a crypto-explosive hypothesis and a meteorite impact hypothesis may be partly correct in explaining several anomalous geological features in the middle of the United States. We used a primary geographic information science (GIScience) technique of creating a digital elevation model (DEM) of two of these features that occur in Missouri. The DEMs were derived from airborne light detection and ranging, or LiDAR. Using these DEMs, we characterized the Crooked Creek structure in southern Crawford County and the Weaubleau structure in southeastern St. Clair County, Missouri. The mensuration and study of exposed and buried impact craters implies that the craters may have intrinsic dimensions which could only be produced by collision. The results show elevations varying between 276 and 348 m for Crooked Creek and between 220 and 290 m for Weaubleau structure. These new high- resolution DEMs are accurate enough to allow for precise measurements and better interpretations of geological structures, particularly jointing in the carbonate rocks, and they show greater definition of the central uplift area in the Weaubleau structure than publicly available DEMs.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Document Type



Crater, DEM, Elevation model, GIScience, Impact structure, LiDAR, Light detection and ranging, Meteorite

Publication Date


Journal Title

Surveying and Land Information Science