Hyperspectral Mapping of Iron-bearing Minerals Associated with Dry and Ephemeral Lakes

Friday, 19 December 2014
William H Farrand, Space Science Inst, Boulder, CO, United States and Brenda Beitler Bowen, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States
This research project is utilizing data from the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) on the International Space Station (ISS) to examine a set of playas and ephemeral lakes in Australia and in the southwestern United States. HICO collects hyperspectral data from 0.35 to 1.08 µm thus excluding the SWIR vibrational overtone region of clays and carbonates. We are assessing the utility of HICO for detecting iron-bearing minerals and materials associated with playas and mapping their fractional abundance outside of the playa boundaries. Sites being investigated include the clastics-dominated Railroad Valley and Lunar Lake playas of Nevada, the evaporite-dominated Bonneville Salt Flats, and the acid-saline Lake Tyrrell of northwest Victoria, Australia. HICO, and supporting airborne hyperspectral datasets (AVIRIS and HyMap), are being converted from at-sensor radiance to surface reflectance using the FLAASH radiance transfer-based atmospheric correction software. Fe-bearing minerals and materials are determined through a standardized endmember detection approach using the commercial ENVI software and mapped using a variety of approaches including linear spectral mixture analysis, constrained energy minimization, and spectral feature fitting. Interpretations of remote data are guided by field-based observations and mapping. We are using the remote sensing data to assess the surface state of the playa (wet vs. dry, soft vs. hard). These factors have bearing in that dusts stripped from playa surfaces can affect nearby human communities and agricultural fields. Playas are also used for recreation and sometimes as transportation corridors and their physical state has important bearing for those functions. Assessing the types of minerals present has relevance for their impact as wind-entrained particulates that could have adverse effects on the health of humans, crops, or livestock.