Geological remote sensing is defined as the study of the Earth utilizing electromagnetic radiation which is either reflected or emitted from its surface in wavelengths ranging from 0.3 micrometre to 3 metres. The natural surface of the Earth is composed of a diversified combination of surface cover types, and geologists must understand the characteristics of surface cover types to successfully evaluate remotely-sensed data. In some areas landscape surface cover changes throughout the year, and analysis of imagery acquired at different times of year can yield additional geological information. Integration of different scales of analysis allows landscape features to be effectively interpreted. Interpretation of the static elements displayed on imagery is referred to as an image interpretation. Image interpretation is dependent upon: (1) the geologist's understanding of the fundamental aspects of image formation, and (2.) his ability to detect, delineate, and classify image radiometric data; recognize radiometric patterns; and identify landscape surface characteristics as expressed on imagery. A geologic interpretation integrates surface characteristics of the landscape with subsurface geologic relationships. Development of a geologic interpretation from imagery is dependent upon: (1) the geologist's ability to interpret geomorphic processes from their static surface expression as landscape characteristics on imagery, (2) his ability to conceptualize the dynamic processes responsible for the evolution 6f interpreted geologic relationships (his ability to develop geologic models). The integration of geologic remote-sensing techniques in subsurface analysis is illustrated by development of an exploration model for ground water in the Tucson area of Arizona, and by the development of an exploration model for mineralization in southwest Idaho.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Integration of geological remote-sensing techniques in subsurface analysis
U.S. Geological Survey
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center