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Scientific Investigations Map 3252

Automated Mapping of Mineral Groups and Green Vegetation from Landsat Thematic Mapper Imagery with an Example from the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

By Barnaby W. Rockwell

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (24.1 MB)Abstract

Multispectral satellite data acquired by the ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (TM) sensors are being used to populate an online Geographic Information System (GIS) of the spatial occurrence of mineral groups and green vegetation across the western conterminous United States and Alaska. These geospatial data are supporting U.S. Geological Survey national-scale mineral deposit database development and other mineral resource and geoenvironmental research as a means of characterizing mineral exposures related to mined and unmined hydrothermally altered rocks and mine waste.

This report introduces a new methodology for the automated analysis of Landsat TM data that has been applied to more than 180 scenes covering the western United States. A map of mineral groups and green vegetation produced using this new methodology that covers the western San Juan Mountains, Colorado, and the Four Corners Region is presented. The map is provided as a layered GeoPDF and in GIS-ready digital format. TM data analysis results from other well-studied and mineralogically characterized areas with strong hydrothermal alteration and (or) supergene weathering of near-surface sulfide minerals are also shown and compared with results derived from ASTER data analysis.

First posted May 28, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, MS-973
Denver, CO 80225

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Rockwell, B.W., 2013, Automated mapping of mineral groups and green vegetation from Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery with an example from the San Juan Mountains, Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3252, 25 p. pamphlet, 1 map sheet, scale 1:325,000,



Map Usage

Descriptions of Map Sheet and Associated ERDAS IMAGINE Raster Image File Included in this Publication

Description of Automated Analysis Methodology


Deficiencies of the Automated Analysis Methodology





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