The advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection (ASTER) radiometer was designed to record reflected energy in nine channels with 15 or 30 m resolution, including stereoscopic images, and emitted energy in five channels with 90 m resolution from the NASA Earth Observing System AM1 platform. A simulated ASTER data set was produced for the Iron Hill, Colorado, study area by resampling calibrated, registered airborne visible/infrared imaging spectrometer (AVIRIS) data, and thermal infrared multispectral scanner (TIMS) data to the appropriate spatial and spectral parameters. A digital elevation model was obtained to simulate ASTER-derived topographic data. The main lithologic units in the area are granitic rocks and felsite into which a carbonatite stock and associated alkalic igneous rocks were intruded; these rocks are locally covered by Jurassic sandstone, Tertiary rhyolitic tuff, and colluvial deposits. Several methods were evaluated for mapping the main lithologic units, including the unsupervised classification and spectral curve-matching techniques. In the five thermal-infrared (TIR) channels, comparison of the results of linear spectral unmixing and unsupervised classification with published geologic maps showed that the main lithologic units were mapped, but large areas with moderate to dense tree cover were not mapped in the TIR data. Compared to TIMS data, simulated ASTER data permitted slightly less discrimination in the mafic alkalic rock series, and carbonatite was not mapped in the TIMS nor in the simulated ASTER TIR data. In the nine visible and near-infrared channels, unsupervised classification did not yield useful results, but both the spectral linear unmixing and the matched filter techniques produced useful results, including mapping calcitic and dolomitic carbonatite exposures, travertine in hot spring deposits, kaolinite in argillized sandstone and tuff, and muscovite in sericitized granite and felsite, as well as commonly occurring illite/muscovite. However, the distinction made in AVIRIS data between calcite and dolomite was not consistently feasible in the simulated ASTER data. Comparison of the lithologic information produced by spectral analysis of the simulated ASTER data to a photogeologic interpretation of a simulated ASTER color image illustrates the high potential of spectral analysis of ASTER data to geologic interpretation. This paper is not subject to U.S. copyright. Published in 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.
Additional publication details
Analysis of simulated advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection (ASTER) radiometer data of the Iron Hill, Colorado, study area for mapping lithologies