Abstract

A test site in southern Baffin Island, Canada has been established to study the applications of hyperspectral data to lithological mapping. Good bedrock exposure and minimal vegetation cover provide an ideal environment for the evaluation of hyperspectral remote sensing. Airborne PROBE hyperspectral data were collected over the study site during the summer of 2000. Processing methods involved (1) applying a minimum noise fraction (MNF) transformation to the data and visual interpretation of a ternary colour MNF image to produce a lithological–compositional map, and (2) selection of end members from the MNF image followed by matched filtering based on the selected end members to produce a lithological–compositional map. Both methods have produced a lithological map that compares favourably with the existing geological map. Although lichen imparts a similarity to the spectra throughout the visible and near infrared and short-wave infrared ranges, this study has shown that enough variability in the spectra as a function of different mineralogy was present to successfully discriminate one major lithological group (metatonalites) and three compositional units (psammites, quartzites, and monzogranites). Vegetation could be clearly distinguished, which in this area only is a good proxy for mapping metagabbroic rocks. Furthermore, discrimination of slightly different compositional units within the psammites and the metatonalites was also possible. The results from this study indicate that hyperspectral remotely sensed imagery holds promise for lithological mapping in Canada’s North, although further analysis is required in different geologic environments in Canada’s North to validate hyperspectral remote sensing as a useful aid to lithological mapping.

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