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ABSTRACT: Energy and Mineral Resource Exploration Potential of TIMS

Harold R. Lang, Anne B. Kahle

TIMS, the Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner, is a NASA/JPL, 6-channel aircraft imaging sensor that operates on the Ames C-130 or ER-2 and Stennis Learjet aircraft platforms. It is the first thermal infrared scanner to routinely acquire data in the 8-12 micrometer, mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. TIMS measures 20-70 m pixels along a 7-20 km groundtrack, depending upon platform and flight parameters. Since the instrument became operational in 1982, it has surveyed hundreds of geological targets in North America, Hawaii, Europe, and Australia. Although a NASA research instrument, TIMS has clearly demonstrated the potential value of multispectral thermal infrared data for geologic mapping and resource exploration as evidenced by the recent developmen of commercial field and aircraft instruments, plus plans by the Japanese to build a multispectral thermal infrared instrument (ITIR) to operate on the first Eos platform in the 1990s.

In this paper, we (1) describe the physical basis for using mid-infrared data for lithologic mapping, (2) provide examples of TIMS data acquired over sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous terrain that demonstrate the resource exploration potential of thermal infrared data, and (3) examine algorithms that can be used operationally to process multispectral thermal infrared in resource exploration surveys.

This paper presents the results of one phase of research carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990