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Abstract: Previous HitIntroductionTop to Geologic Remote Sensing

James V. Taranik, Charles M. Trautwein

Geologic remote sensing is defined as the study of the earth utilizing electromagnetic radiation that is either reflected or emitted from its surface in wavelengths ranging from 0.3µ to 3 m. Electromagnetic radiation originates naturally in the sun and in the earth, or can be produced artificially. Elements of the energy path (sources, transmitting media, landscape cover, and detection systems) modify the amount and spectral distribution of electromagnetic energy. The surface of the earth is composed of a diversified combination of cover types. Geologists must understand the characteristics of landscape cover and the effects of the elements of the energy path on electromagnetic energy to evaluate properly remote sensor data.

Delineation of radiometric patterns displayed on imagery is referred to as image analysis. Image interpretation involves identification of radiometric patterns on imagery as landform, drainage, and cover patterns. A person with training in geology must analyze these spatial landscape patterns on imagery to interpret geomorphology. Geomorphologic relations are analyzed to develop structural and stratigraphic interpretations. Geodynamic interpretations are developed through the analysis of structural and stratigraphic relations. Geologic interpretations, which often involve development of conceptual geologic models, are developed through analysis of geodynamics, structure, stratigraphy, and geomorphology.

The main objectives of computer processing of remotely sensed data are to improve the display of radiometric patterns to the analyst or to facilitate evaluation of the multispectral characteristics of the data. Multispectral analysis involves machine-assisted multispectral pattern delineation. Classification of machine-assisted delineated multispectral patterns must be done by an analyst who determines the relationship of multispectral patterns to landscape cover patterns. Usually, classifications of multispectral data must be incorporated with structural, stratigraphic, and geodynamic information derived from analysis of spatial data on imagery to develop a geologic interpretation.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90962©1978 AAPG 2nd Circum-Pacific Energy and Minerals Resource Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii