Mapping sedimentary exposures using ASTER imagery

Investigator:

Faysal Bibi

Advisor: Elisabeth Vrba

Description:

I would like to assess the potential of using satellite imagery for paleontological field survey purposes. Specifically, I am asking the question: how well can particular sedimentary exposures be differentiated from other rock types within particular regions. I am currently focusing on three geographic regions, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), and Lebanon, each of which presents a different lithological context for the target lithologies.

Traditionally, paleontological surveys have utilized aerial or satellite imagery for exploratory purposes. However, efforts at locating new fossiliferous outcrops have always been constrained by the inability of the surveyor's eye to differentiate between similarly-colored lithological packages. This often comes at great expense to survey projects, with days spent in unfruitful regions which had initially looked promising. Examples of this are weathered basalts that, in the visible light spectrum, mimic particular light-colored fossiliferous sands and clays. I would like to investigate further the applications of multi- and hyper-spectral analysis for the puposes of directing and making more efficient the process of paleontological survey.



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7 September 2004