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SABINS, FLOYD F., Chevron Oil Field Research Company, La Habra, CA

ABSTRACT: Remote Sensing and Image Processing for Exploration in Frontier Basins

A variety of remote sensing systems are available to explore the wide range of terrain in Central and South America and Mexico.

The remote sensing data are recorded in digital form and must be computer-processed to produce images that are suitable for exploration.

Landsat and SPOT images are available for most of the earth, but are restricted by cloud-cover. The broad terrain coverage recorded by Landsat thematic mapper (TM) is well suited for regional exploration. Color images are composited from various combinations of the 6 spectral bands to selectively enhance geologic features in different types of terrain. SPOT images may be acquired as stereo pairs which are valuable for structural interpretations.

Radar is an active form of remote sensing that provides its own source of energy at wavelengths of centimeters which penetrate cloud-cover. Radar images are acquired at low depression angles to create shadows and highlights that enhance subtle geologic features. Satellite radar images of earth were recorded from two U.S. space shuttle missions in the 1980's and are currently recorded by the European Remote Sensing satellite and the Japanese Earth Resources Satellite. Mosaics of radar images acquired from aircraft are widely used in oil exploration, especially in cloud-covered regions.

Typical images and computer processing method are illustrated with examples from various frontier basins.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90988©1993 AAPG/SVG International Congress and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela, March 14-17, 1993.