DOI: 10.3390/rs15174175 ISSN:

A Geospatial Analysis-Based Method for Railway Route Selection in Marine Glaciers: A Case Study of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway Network

Tao Deng, Abubakar Sharafat, Young Min Wie, Ki Gang Lee, Euiong Lee, Kang Hoon Lee
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

Marine glaciers play a significant role in shaping landforms due to their erosive nature coupled with their surrounding environment. During this process, they pose a natural hazard threat to man-made infrastructure. The dynamic nature of these glaciers poses a particular threat, especially to railway infrastructure constructed in remote areas with glacial activity. Substantial research has been undertaken on the role of threats posed by marine glaciers to railway infrastructure. However, a detailed study of favorable glacier landforms prior to railway construction has yet to be explored. In this study, we propose a geospatial analysis-based method to determine the favorable most landforms shaped by marine glaciers for railway network route selection. This study provides a novel approach by first analyzing the availability of four major favorable landforms shaped by marine glaciers (glacier canyons, valley shoulders, moraine terraces, and ancient dammed lake basins), then proposes a railway route selection method for marine glacier distribution areas involving three steps. First, it is necessary to understand the basic situation of regional glaciers; then, to determine a feasible location for the railway based on judgment of the direct and indirect action areas of glaciers; and finally, through a thematic study of glacial geomorphology, to devise corresponding strategies for using glacial landforms to optimize the railway route. In order to verify the feasibility of the proposed method, it was implemented in the Palong Zangbo watershed of the Sichuan–Tibet railway network. Utilizing the power function method, the glacier basin areas of 22 glacier canyons along the Sichuan–Tibet railway line were identified and the maximum annual average velocity of 75 glaciers over the past ten years was calculated by offset tracking technology. The results indicate that the proposed optimization strategies utilizing glacier canyons for a short and straight route scheme and leveraging moraine terraces for a high-line scheme can provide comprehensive guidance for railway route selection in marine glacial areas.

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