We have assembled a digital reflectance spectral library that covers the wavelength range from the ultraviolet to far infrared along with sample documentation. The library includes samples of minerals, rocks, soils, physically constructed as well as mathematically computed mixtures, plants, vegetation communities, microorganisms, and man-made materials. The samples and spectra collected were assembled for the purpose of using spectral features for the remote detection of these and similar materials.
Analysis of spectroscopic data from laboratory, aircraft, and spacecraft instrumentation requires a knowledge base. The spectral library discussed here forms a knowledge base for the spectroscopy of minerals and related materials of importance to a variety of research programs being conducted at the U.S. Geological Survey. Much of this library grew out of the need for spectra to support imaging spectroscopy studies of the Earth and planets. Imaging spectrometers, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Airborne Visible/Infra Red Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) or the NASA Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) which is currently orbiting Saturn, have narrow bandwidths in many contiguous spectral channels that permit accurate definition of absorption features in spectra from a variety of materials. Identification of materials from such data requires a comprehensive spectral library of minerals, vegetation, man-made materials, and other subjects in the scene.
Our research involves the use of the spectral library to identify the components in a spectrum of an unknown. Therefore, the quality of the library must be very good. However, the quality required in a spectral library to successfully perform an investigation depends on the scientific questions to be answered and the type of algorithms to be used. For example, to map a mineral using imaging spectroscopy and the mapping algorithm of Clark and others (1990a, 2003b), one simply needs a diagnostic absorption band. The mapping system uses continuum-removed reference spectral features fitted to features in observed spectra. Spectral features for such algorithms can be obtained from a spectrum of a sample containing large amounts of contaminants, including those that add other spectral features, as long as the shape of the diagnostic feature of interest is not modified. If, however, the data are needed for radiative transfer models to derive mineral abundances from reflectance spectra, then completely uncontaminated spectra are required. This library contains spectra that span a range of quality, with purity indicators to flag spectra for (or against) particular uses.
Acquiring spectral measurements and performing sample characterizations for this library has taken about 15 person-years of effort. Software to manage the library and provide scientific analysis capability is provided (Clark, 1980, 1993). A personal computer (PC) reader for the library is also available (Livo and others, 1993). The program reads specpr binary files (Clark, 1980, 1993) and plots spectra. Another program that reads the specpr format is written in IDL (Kokaly, 2005).
In our view, an ideal spectral library consists of samples covering a very wide range of materials, has large wavelength range with very high precision, and has enough sample analyses and documentation to establish the quality of the spectra. Time and available resources limit what can be achieved.
Ideally, for each mineral, the sample analysis would include X-ray diffraction (XRD), electron microprobe (EM) or X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and petrographic microscopic analyses. For some minerals, such as iron oxides, additional analyses such as Mossbauer would be helpful. We have found that to make the basic spectral measurements, provide XRD, EM or XRF analyses, and microscopic analyses, document the results, and complete an entry of one spectral library sample, all takes about