Remote Sensing for Mineral Exploration Using High Resolution Satellite Images

Remote sensing for mineral exploration is a rapidly advancing, and extremely valuable tool for the Mining industry. Multispectral imaging and thematic mapping enables researchers and mineral explorers to begin acquiring various reflection and absorption properties of soils, rock, and vegetation. These spectra could be utilized to interpret actual surface lithologies from satellite images. With a field crew providing ground truth data, large areas could be geologically mapped in a short time at a fraction of the cost of traditional geologic mapping.

ASTER Satellite Images of the Saline Valley area, California

Image Credit:
NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS,
and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

Each image displays data from a different spectral region, and illustrates the complimentary nature of surface compositional information available as a function of wavelength. The LEFT image displays visible and near infrared bands 3, 2, and 1 in red, green, and blue (RGB). Vegetation appears red, snow and dry salt lakes are white, and exposed rocks are brown, gray, yellow and blue. Rock colors mainly reflect the presence of iron minerals, and variations in albedo. The MIDDLE image displays short wavelength infrared bands 4, 6, and 8 as RGB. In this wavelength region, clay, carbonate, and sulfate minerals have diagnostic absorption features, resulting in distinct colors on the image. For example, limestones are yellow-green, and purple areas are kaolinite-rich. The RIGHT image displays thermal infrared bands 13, 12 and 10 as RGB. In this wavelength region, variations in quartz content appear as more or less red; carbonate rocks are green, and mafic volcanic rocks are purple.

The use of satellite imagery in mineral exploration, generally a combination of panchromatic and multispectral image data has been used in mineral and petroleum industries over the last decade. High resolution satellite images from satellite sensors including Radarsat-2, WorldView-2, SPOT 5, and medium resolution sensors such as ASTER and Landsat will enable accurate and reliable vector, raster, and attribute data.

Panchromatic and multispectral full color satellite imagery is used to utilize enhanced spectral analysis for mapping, monitoring and analysis of land cover classification, lithological classification, change detection, environmental monitoring and visualization environments.

Among the most valuable data collected are the weathering and alteration products of mineral deposits, especially clays. Clays and oxides can be readily differentiated by the spectra utilized for remote sensing. By correlating the alteration products to parent materials, potentially valuable ores maybe detected without the need for extensive soil sampling programs.

About Auracle Geospatial Science, Inc:

Auracle Geospatial Science Inc (AGS), is a geospatial company and offers a comprehensive range of geospatial information services that include Geographic Information Systems GIS, satellite image processing, geospatial analysis and geospatial modeling. Our global clients from mineral exploration, oil exploration, forestry management, and the agricultural industry have come to rely on our expertise to acquire, analyze, and visualize their geographic information.

We have years of experience in remote sensing technologies including image interpretation and analysis, data integration, data fusion and data visualization.

About Auracle Geospatial Science, Inc.

Auracle Geospatial Science Inc (AGS), a geospatial company that offers comprehensive range of geospatial information services that include Geographic Information Systems GIS, satellite image processing, spatial analysis and spatial modeling. Our global clients from mineral exploration, oil exploration, forestry management, and the agricultural industry have come to rely on our expertise to acquire, analyze, and visualize their geographic information. AGS also offers support services in Remote Sensing Consulting, project development, land-use management and litigation support.
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