ABSTRACT: Side-Looking Airborne Radar--An Underutilized Remote Sensing Tool for the Circum-Pacific Region
Bruce F. Molnia, John E. Jones
Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR), used worldwide for identification and mapping of structural elements such as folds, faults, and circular features, is one of the least utilized remote sensing tools available in the Circum-Pacific region. Unlike other systems that are "passive," SLAR is "active"; it supplies its own microwave energy, which allows day and night data acquisition through most cloud cover. Data can be acquired with tailored mission design parameters including resolution, look direction, depression angle range, offset, sensor altitude, frequency, and polarization.
In the Circum-Pacific region, SLAR data have been used in: (1) analyzing the structure of a 60,000 km2 area of the Philippines, where a significant number of new onshore prospects were identified that warrant new seismic investigation; (2) mapping surface structure and stratigraphy to help in planning a hydrocarbon exploration program for the southern Papua New Guinea Fold Belt; (3) mapping the geology for hydrocarbon exploration in Colombia; and (4) mapping glacial features and structural elements in Alaska.
Beyond the Circum-Pacific area, SLAR data are used in mapping structures for energy and mineral exploration; urban planning; siting nuclear power plants; identifying peat deposits; analyzing water resources; locating uraniferous breccia pipes; and locating and mapping salt domes.
Future developments in airborne radar systems offer experimental 12-channel (multifrequency and multipolarization) SLAR systems and a new generation of satellite radar systems. Eight international radar satellites are planned for launch by 1996. The use of data from these new radar satellites will result in an increased demand for and increased use of SLAR data. SLAR, because of its greater mission design flexibility and higher resolution, will be the tool of choice to confirm general conclusions drawn from the lower resolution, less-flexible-parameter information provided by the new satellite systems.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990