Status and Developments in Geological Remote Sensing

R.D. Hewson*, H.M.A. van der Werff, C. Hecker, F.J.A. van Ruitenbeek, W.H. Bakker, M. van der Meijde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

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Recent improvements and availability of optical to infrared to thermal satellite and airborne sensors opens up the opportunity for advancing surface mineralogy and geological mapping. Such mapping may include the identification of alteration zones for exploration activities or monitoring ore quality and inventory within open cuts. Remote sensing technology is also
on the cusp of major new developments with deployment of hyperspectral sensor satellites, UAV/drones and proximal mine face sensors. Such imagery will provide additional compositional information within the geoscientists tool kit for regional to mine site scale studies. In particular the improvement and access
of higher spectral and sometimes, spatial resolution will assist the mapping of different AlOH, MgOH, carbonate, sulphate and iron oxide mineral identities, potentially related to phyllic, propylitic and argillic alteration zones. Integration of such remote sensing map products with regional geophysical data and other geoscience information has in the past and will in the future refine and improve its interpretation. Satellite imagery and large-scale airborne survey acquisitions can be particularly useful for greenfields exploration in exposed terrain within
arid to semi-arid remote areas. UAV/drone platform remote sensing is increasingly being applied to brownfields open cut observations and mine site environmental monitoring. However, an understanding of the caveats and limitations on remote sensing is essential. In particular, knowledge of the issues of sensor resolution, and illumination, atmospheric and ground conditions at the time of acquisition is important. This paper aims to provide a brief overview of current available remote sensing technologies, a cross section of related case studies, and a roadmap strategy for undertaking geological remote sensing applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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