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Comparison of SLASAR and Landsat MSS Data for Geologic Mapping in Onshore Santa Maria Basin Area, California

Cleavy L. McKnight

Comparison of side-looking airborne synthetic aperture radar (SLASAR) data with Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) data for the onshore Santa Maria Basin area in the western Transverse Ranges on the California coast provides two data sets with complementary information for the interpretation of geologic structure and lithology.

Near-range SLASAR data, with an east-look direction, bring out north-south-trending coastal features. The low illumination angle accentuates topographic features that reflect structural and geomorphic control. Lithologic differences can be discerned on the basis of image texture (spatial variability), which is controlled by surface roughness. Spatial resolution (pixel size) is 12.5 m. A computer algorithm for analyzing the spatial variability of pixel brightness provides a means for automatically classifying land-cover types in the imagery.

Despite poorer spatial resolution (pixel size of 80 m), Landsat MSS data for the area provide valuable spectral information for geologic mapping. The differing responses of rock types and vegetational assemblages in the four channel of the MSS imagery have been analyzed by another computer algorithm to classify land-cover types on the basis of spectral pattern recognition.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91035©1988 AAPG-SEPM-SEG Pacific Sections and SPWLA Annual Convention, Santa Barbara, California, 17-19 April 1988.