Surface roughness is an important rock property that is measured for structural geology and engineering purposes. We have developed an automatic technique to detect anisotropic features on rock faces based on fractal analysis. The analysis method has been applied to synthetic surfaces, and to digitally mapped point clouds of natural rock surfaces shaped by weathering, fault wear, and mining. We illustrate the technique using field examples from Permian sandstones containing brittle shear zones in northeast England, the surface of a neotectonic fault in Turkey, Proterozoic quartzite from central Australia, and Devonian Quartzite in an aggregate quarry in Germany. Roughness analysis of these natural examples suggests that a significant change of roughness value, anisotropy, and anisotropy direction can exist across scale. Our analysis method represents a step toward developing a toolkit to automatically detect and interpret surface characteristics from digitally acquired data sets. It has widespread potential for applications in rock engineering and the geosciences.
|Publication status||Published - 2008|