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Abstract: Testing Remote Sensing for Exploration Purposes in the Great Basin, USA

Gregory D. Nash

The University of Utah Research Institute has been conducting a study to determine the usefulness of remote sensing in geothermal exploration. This study focused on the use of Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite data and field spectrometry. These data, along with ancillary data, were added to a Geographic Information System Database (GIS) for correlation and modeling.

The TM data have allowed the mapping of hydrothermal alteration and lineaments over a large area of Great Basin This led to the identification of areas that were structurally conducive to thermal fluid flow. This information is also useful in mineral and petroleum exploration, as recent studies have confirmed relationships between geothermal systems, gold deposits, and petroleum reservoirs in the Great Basin.

However, the interpretation of TM data alone does not allow the siting of a potential target. Conventional geologic and geophysical techniques still produce the primary exploration data Satellite data can successfully augment these data types, as well as others, in a GIS environment.

Field spectroscopy was also being tested for the detection geobotanical anomalies over known geothermal/mineral/petroleum deposits. The data was broken down into individual spectral components, such as the red-edge point of inflection, for interpretation The initial results indicated that spectral differences do occur.

In conclusion, it was found that satellite data is useful in exploration, especially when correlated with other types of data in a GIS environment. Initial results also indicated that hyperspectral data can be useful in detecting vegetation anomalies associated with geothermal, petroleum, and mineral deposits.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90959©1995 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Reno, Nevada