A scheme to discriminate and identify materials having overlapping spectral absorption features has been developed and tested based on the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Tetracorder system. The scheme has been applied to remotely sensed imaging spectroscopy data acquired by the Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) instrument. This approach was used to identify the minerals calcite, epidote, and chlorite in the upper Animas River watershed, Colorado. The study was motivated by the need to characterize the distribution of calcite in the watershed and assess its acid-neutralizing potential with regard to acidic mine drainage. Identification of these three minerals is difficult because their diagnostic spectral features are all centered at 2.3 ??m, and have similar shapes and widths. Previous studies overestimated calcite abundance as a result of these spectral overlaps. The use of a reference library containing synthetic mixtures of the three minerals in varying proportions was found to simplify the task of identifying these minerals when used in conjunction with a rule-based expert system. Some inaccuracies in the mineral distribution maps remain, however, due to the influence of a fourth spectral component, sericite, which exhibits spectral absorption features at 2.2 and 2.4 ??m that overlap the 2.3-??m absorption features of the other three minerals. Whereas the endmember minerals calcite, epidote, chlorite, and sericite can be identified by the method presented here, discrepancies occur in areas where all four occur together as intimate mixtures. It is expected that future work will be able to reduce these discrepancies by including reference mixtures containing sericite. ?? 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.