Special Issue "Advances in Lithological and Structural Mapping Using Earth Observation Data"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Structural Geology and Tectonics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2016).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Kevin Tansey
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Guest Editor
Centre for Landscape & Climate Research, Leicester Institute for Space & Earth Observation, School of Geography, Geology & the Environment, University of Leicester, UK
Interests: radar; InSAR; LiDAR; multispectral; hyperspectral; lithological mapping; image classification; structural mapping; vegetation mapping; hydrocarbon seep mapping; landscape modelling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Stephen Grebby
Website
Guest Editor
Nottingham Geospatial Institute, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2TU, UK
Interests: earth observation; geohazards; mineral exploration; geological remote sensing; ground deformation; InSAR; LiDAR; hyperspectral; geophysics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Geological mapping is traditionally carried out on the ground through field surveys.  However, field mapping in complex terrain can be laborious and inefficient, particularly over large areas and at large (detailed) mapping scales. Recent advances in Earth Observation techniques have, and continue to, revolutionise the way in which we study the geological composition and structure of Earth’s surface. In particular, remote sensing has provided a means of acquiring continuous, high-resolution data over large areas, therefore helping to overcome the limitations associated with field-based mapping. Nevertheless, the combination of remotely sensed data with in situ observations is synergistic in enabling us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Earth’s geology.

This Special Issue of Geosciences focuses on recent advances in lithological and structural mapping using satellite, airborne and in situ Earth Observation data, with a particular emphasis on the application of new and state-of-the-art sensors, platforms and algorithms. The aim is to compile a collection of articles that provides a comprehensive and valuable reference for geoscientists, which addresses fundamental research questions and looks to the future to determine the Earth Observation requirements for significantly advancing the field in the next 10–20 years. Accordingly, we invite submissions relating to topics such as:

  • Multi- and hyperspectral optical and thermal infrared sensors
  • Geophysical data (e.g., gravity, magnetic, radiometric, seismic)
  • LiDAR, digital elevation models and geomorphometry
  • Applications in the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Interferometric SAR, Polarimetry and Polarimetric Interferometry.
  • In situ or proximal techniques (e.g., geochemical analysis, field spectroscopy)
  • Innovative image enhancement techniques and classification algorithms
  • Lineament extraction and structural mapping
  • Integration of multi-source and multi-platform (i.e., satellite, airborne, in situ) data
  • Overcoming the effects of dense vegetation on lithological and structural mapping
  • Mineral exploration
  • Use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • Future geoscientific observational requirements

Dr. Kevin Tansey
Dr. Stephen Grebby
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Lithological mapping
  • Structural geology
  • Mineral exploration
  • Multispectral and hyperspectral
  • LiDAR
  • Geophysics
  • Radar, InSAR
  • Digital elevation models
  • Image classification
  • Data fusion
  • Image segmentation

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Folded Basinal Compartments of the Southern Mongolian Borderland: A Structural Archive of the Final Consolidation of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt
Geosciences 2017, 7(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7010002 - 11 Jan 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
The Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) records multiple Phanerozoic tectonic events involving consolidation of disparate terranes and cratonic blocks and subsequent reactivation of Eurasia’s continental interior. The final amalgamation of the CAOB terrane collage involved diachronous closure of the Permian-Triassic Solonker suture in [...] Read more.
The Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) records multiple Phanerozoic tectonic events involving consolidation of disparate terranes and cratonic blocks and subsequent reactivation of Eurasia’s continental interior. The final amalgamation of the CAOB terrane collage involved diachronous closure of the Permian-Triassic Solonker suture in northernmost China and the Jurassic Mongol-Okhotsk suture in northeast Mongolia and eastern Siberia. The distribution, style, and kinematics of deformation associated with these two terminal collision events is poorly documented in southern Mongolia and northernmost China because these regions were later tectonically overprinted by widespread Cretaceous basin and range-style crustal extension and Miocene-recent sinistral transpressional mountain building. These younger events structurally compartmentalized the crust into uplifted crystalline basement blocks and intermontane basins. Consequently, widespread Cretaceous and Late Cenozoic clastic sedimentary deposits overlie older Permian-Jurassic sedimentary rocks in most basinal areas and obscure the deformation record associated with Permian-Triassic Solonker and Jurassic Mongol-Okhotsk collisional suturing. In this report, satellite image mapping of basinal compartments that expose folded Permian-Jurassic sedimentary successions that are unconformably overlapped by Cretaceous-Quaternary clastic sediments is presented for remote and poorly studied regions of southern Mongolia and two areas of the Beishan. The largest folds are tens of kilometers in strike length, east-west trending, and reveal north-south Late Jurassic shortening (present coordinates). Late Jurassic fold vergence is dominantly northerly in the southern Gobi Altai within a regional-scale fold-and-thrust belt. Local refolding of older Permian north-south trending folds is also evident in some areas. The folds identified and mapped in this study provide new evidence for the regional distribution and kinematics of Jurassic and Permian-Triassic contractional tectonism in the southern Mongolia-northern China borderland region. The newly mapped folds are also important potential targets for hydrocarbon exploration and vertebrate paleontological discoveries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Regional Lithological Mapping Using ASTER-TIR Data: Case Study for the Tibetan Plateau and the Surrounding Area
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030039 - 02 Sep 2016
Cited by 19
Abstract
The mineralogical indices the Quartz Index (QI), Carbonate Index (CI) and Mafic Index (MI) for ASTER multispectral thermal infrared (TIR) data were applied to various geological materials for regional lithological mapping on the Tibetan Plateau. Many lithological and structural features are not currently [...] Read more.
The mineralogical indices the Quartz Index (QI), Carbonate Index (CI) and Mafic Index (MI) for ASTER multispectral thermal infrared (TIR) data were applied to various geological materials for regional lithological mapping on the Tibetan Plateau. Many lithological and structural features are not currently well understood in the central Tibetan Plateau, including the distribution of mafic-ultramafic rocks related to the suture zones, the quartzose and carbonate sedimentary rocks accreted to the Eurasian continent, and sulfate layers related to the Tethys and neo-Tethys geological setting. These rock types can now be mapped with the interpretation of the processed ASTER TIR images described in this paper. A methodology is described for the processing of ASTER TIR data applied to a very wide region of the Tibetan Plateau. The geometrical and radiometric performance of the processed images is discussed, and the advantages of using ortho-rectified data are shown. The challenges of using ASTER data with a small footprint in addition to selecting an appropriate subset of scenes are also examined. ASTER scenes possess a narrow swath width when compared to LANDSAT data (60 km vs. 185 km, respectively). Furthermore, the ASTER data archive is vast, consisting of approximately three million images. These details can present an added level of complexity during an image processing workflow. Finally, geological interpretations made on the maps of the indices are compared with prior geological field studies. The results from the investigations suggest that the indices perform well in the classification of quartzose rocks based on the carbonate and mafic mineral content, in addition to the granitic rocks based on the feldspar content. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Multi-Style Hydrothermal Alteration Using Integrated Compositional and Topographic Remote Sensing Datasets
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030036 - 29 Jul 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
The western part of the island of Milos, Greece has undergone widespread, intense alteration associated with a range of mineralization, including seafloor Mn-Fe-Ba, sub seafloor Pb-Zn-Ag, and epithermal Au-Ag. The surrounding country rocks are a mixture of submarine and subaerial calc-alkaline volcanic rocks [...] Read more.
The western part of the island of Milos, Greece has undergone widespread, intense alteration associated with a range of mineralization, including seafloor Mn-Fe-Ba, sub seafloor Pb-Zn-Ag, and epithermal Au-Ag. The surrounding country rocks are a mixture of submarine and subaerial calc-alkaline volcanic rocks ranging from basaltic andesite to rhyolite in composition, but are predominantly andesites and dacites. The current surface spatial distribution of the alteration mineralogy is a function not only of the original hydrothermal, but also subsequent tectonic and erosional processes. The high relief and the excellent rock exposure provide ideal conditions to evaluate the potential of Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite remote sensing data to identify and differentiate the different styles of alteration mineralisation. Laboratory spectral reflectance and calculated emittance measurements of field samples, supported by XRD analysis and field mapping, were used to support the analysis. Band ratio and spectral matching techniques were applied to the shortwave-infrared (SWIR) reflectance and thermal-infrared (TIR) emissivity imagery separately and were then integrated with topographic data. The band ratio and spectral matching approaches produced similar results in both the SWIR and TIR imagery. In the SWIR imagery, the advanced argillic, argillic and hydrous silica alteration zones were clearly identifiable, while in the TIR imagery, the silicic and advanced argillic alteration zones, along with the country rock, were differentiable. The integrated mineralogical–topographic datasets provided an enhanced understanding of the spatial and altitude distribution of the alteration zones when combined with conceptual models of their genesis, which provides a methodology for the differentiation of the multiple styles of alteration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Utilizing HyspIRI Prototype Data for Geological Exploration Applications: A Southern California Case Study
Geosciences 2016, 6(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6010011 - 24 Feb 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the value of the proposed Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) instrument for geological mapping applications. HyspIRI-like data were collected as part of the HyspIRI airborne campaign that covered large regions of California, USA, over multiple seasons. [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the value of the proposed Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) instrument for geological mapping applications. HyspIRI-like data were collected as part of the HyspIRI airborne campaign that covered large regions of California, USA, over multiple seasons. This work focused on a Southern California area, which encompasses Imperial Valley, the Salton Sea, the Orocopia Mountains, the Chocolate Mountains, and a variety of interesting geological phenomena including fumarole fields and sand dunes. We have mapped hydrothermal alteration, lithology and thermal anomalies, demonstrating the value of this type of data for future geologic exploration activities. We believe HyspIRI will be an important instrument for exploration geologists as data may be quickly manipulated and used for remote mapping of hydrothermal alteration minerals, lithology and temperature anomalies. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Spatio-Temporal Mapping of Plate Boundary Faults in California Using Geodetic Imaging
Geosciences 2017, 7(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7010015 - 21 Mar 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
The Pacific–North American plate boundary in California is composed of a 400-km-wide network of faults and zones of distributed deformation. Earthquakes, even large ones, can occur along individual or combinations of faults within the larger plate boundary system. While research often focuses on [...] Read more.
The Pacific–North American plate boundary in California is composed of a 400-km-wide network of faults and zones of distributed deformation. Earthquakes, even large ones, can occur along individual or combinations of faults within the larger plate boundary system. While research often focuses on the primary and secondary faults, holistic study of the plate boundary is required to answer several fundamental questions. How do plate boundary motions partition across California faults? How do faults within the plate boundary interact during earthquakes? What fraction of strain accumulation is relieved aseismically and does this provide limits on fault rupture propagation? Geodetic imaging, broadly defined as measurement of crustal deformation and topography of the Earth’s surface, enables assessment of topographic characteristics and the spatio-temporal behavior of the Earth’s crust. We focus here on crustal deformation observed with continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) data and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) from NASA’s airborne UAVSAR platform, and on high-resolution topography acquired from lidar and Structure from Motion (SfM) methods. Combined, these measurements are used to identify active structures, past ruptures, transient motions, and distribution of deformation. The observations inform estimates of the mechanical and geometric properties of faults. We discuss five areas in California as examples of different fault behavior, fault maturity and times within the earthquake cycle: the M6.0 2014 South Napa earthquake rupture, the San Jacinto fault, the creeping and locked Carrizo sections of the San Andreas fault, the Landers rupture in the Eastern California Shear Zone, and the convergence of the Eastern California Shear Zone and San Andreas fault in southern California. These examples indicate that distribution of crustal deformation can be measured using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), and high-resolution topography and can improve our understanding of tectonic deformation and rupture characteristics within the broad plate boundary zone. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mineral Mapping for Exploration: An Australian Journey of Evolving Spectral Sensing Technologies and Industry Collaboration
Geosciences 2016, 6(4), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6040052 - 29 Nov 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
This paper describes selected results from over a dozen collaborative projects led by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia spanning a 30-year history of developments in satellite, airborne, field and drill core sensing technologies and how these can assist explorers [...] Read more.
This paper describes selected results from over a dozen collaborative projects led by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia spanning a 30-year history of developments in satellite, airborne, field and drill core sensing technologies and how these can assist explorers to measure and map valuable mineral information. The exploration case histories are largely from Australian test sites and describe how spectral sensing technologies have progressed from early “niche creation” systems, such as the field PIMA-II (Portable Field Mineral Analyzer) and airborne Geoscan, HyMap™ and OARS-TIPS (Operational Airborne Remote Sensing – Thermal Infrared Profiling Spectrometer) systems and drill-core HyLogger™ systems, to the current expanding array of pubic and commercial mineral mapping sensors, including the ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflectance Radiometer) satellite system which has acquired imagery spanning the entire Earth’s land surface (<83° latitude). These sensors are delivering voluminous spectral data from different parts of the visible to the thermal infrared (400 to 14,000 nm) spectrum at different spectral, radiometric and spatial resolutions. Two critical exploration challenges are central to the case histories, namely: (i) can surface cover, such as vegetation, regolith or transported materials, be characterized and accounted for so that the target geology is accurately revealed; and (ii) does this revealed geology show evidence of alteration footprints to potential economic mineralization. Spectrally measurable minerals important to solving these challenges include white micas, kaolinite and garnets, with measurement of their respective physicochemistries being key. For example, kaolin disorder is useful for mapping transported versus weathered in situ materials, while the chemical substitution in white micas and garnets provide vectors to potential economic mineralization. Importantly, appropriate selection of the optimum sensor/data type for a given geological application depends primarily on the level of detail/accuracy of the mineral information required by the user. A major opportunity is to now harness the many sensor/data types and deliver to users consistent, accurate mineral information products, that is, creation of a number of valuable global mineral product standards. As part of this vision, CSIRO has been developing improved sensor/data calibration processes and information extraction methods that for example, unmix the target mineralogy from green and dry vegetation cover in remote sensing data sets. Emphasis to date has been on generating public spectral-mineral product standards, especially at ASTER’s limited but geologically-valuable spectral resolution. The results are showing that scalable, global, three-dimensional (3D) mineral maps are achievable which will only improve our ability to more accurately characterize regolith and geological architecture, increase our understanding of formative processes and assist the discovery of new economic mineral systems. Full article
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