Ratio values of the reflected energy available through different Landsat band-pass filters were formed using laboratory spectra of 284 particulate rock and soil specimens, and the potential for using these data to discriminate among rock types was examined. Based exclusively on the intrinsic spectral information in the multispectral scanner (MSS) bands, thereby excluding textural, geomorphic, and vegetational effects that may occur in the field, it was concluded that the ratios can generally be used to discriminate different lithologic units. Further, only mafic and ultramafic rocks, and alteration involving ferric oxide staining, typically display sufficiently characteristic spectral behavior to allow specific identification. Certain unique features, such as those produced by chrominum in some chloritic quartzites can be used for discrimination of a few rare rock types.

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