Experimental Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) aircraft data have been acquired for the Rodeo Creek NE 7 1/2 minute quadrangle, Eureka County, northern Nevada, covering the Carlin gold mine. A simple model has been developed to extract spectral emissivities for mapping surface lithology and alteration based on the physical properties of geologic materials. Emissivity-ratio images were prepared that allow generalized lithologic discrimination, identification of areas with high silica content, and the first reported detection of the carbonate secondary reststrahlen feature. Together with thermal-inertia images, they permit identification of areas of subtle lithologic variation not shown on conventional geologic maps. Emissivity-ratio spectra extracted from the data compare favorably with modeled laboratory spectra and establish for the first time the link among theory, measured physical properties, and color-composited TIMS images. Identification of previously unknown silicification in the Tertiary volcanic rocks and mapping of a silicified structure and possible extensions in alluvium indicate that TIMS data can be a valuable tool for detecting subtle alteration associated with mineralization, particularly in less accessible or less well-known areas.