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Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5117

Comparison of ASTER- and AVIRIS-derived mineral and vegetation maps of the White Horse replacement alunite deposit and surrounding area, Marysvale volcanic field, Utah

By Barnaby W. Rockwell


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (34.3 MB)

This report presents and compares mineral and vegetation maps of parts of the Marysvale volcanic field in west-central Utah that were published in a recent paper describing the White Horse replacement alunite deposit. Detailed, field-verified maps of the deposit were produced from Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data acquired from a low-altitude Twin Otter turboprop airborne platform. Reconnaissance-level maps of surrounding areas including the central and northern Tushar Mountains, Pahvant Range, and portions of the Sevier Plateau to the east were produced from visible, near-infrared, and shortwave-infrared data acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) sensor carried aboard the Terra satellite platform. These maps are also compared to a previously published mineral map of the same area generated from AVIRIS data acquired from the high-altitude NASA ER–2 jet platform. All of the maps were generated by similar analysis methods, enabling the direct comparison of the spatial scale and mineral composition of surface geologic features that can be identified using the three types of remote sensing data.

The high spatial (2–17 meter) and spectral (224 bands) resolution AVIRIS data can be used to generate detailed mineral and vegetation maps suitable for geologic and geoenvironmental studies of individual deposits, mines, and smelters. The lower spatial (15–30 meter) and spectral (9 bands) resolution ASTER data are better suited to less detailed mineralogical studies of lithology and alteration across entire hydrothermal systems and mining districts, including regional mineral resource and geoenvironmental assessments. The results presented here demonstrate that minerals and mineral mixtures can be directly identified using AVIRIS and ASTER data to elucidate spatial patterns of mineralogic zonation; AVIRIS data can enable the generation of maps with significantly greater detail and accuracy. The vegetation mapping results suggest that ASTER data may provide an efficient alternative to spectroscopic data for studies of burn severity after wildland fires. A new, semiautomated methodology for the analysis of ASTER data is presented that is currently being applied to ASTER data coverage of large areas for regional assessments of mineral-resource potential and mineral-environmental effects.

All maps are presented in a variety of digital formats, including jpeg, pdf, and ERDAS Imagine (.img). The Imagine format files are georeferenced and suitable for viewing with other geospatial data in Imagine, ArcGIS, and ENVI. The mineral and vegetation maps are attributed so that the material identified for a pixel can be determined easily in ArcMap by using the Identify tool and in Imagine by using the Inquire Cursor tool.

First posted July 7, 2009

For additional information contact:

Team Chief Scientist, USGS Central Mineral Resources
Box 25046, Mail Stop 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., 2009, Comparison of ASTER- and AVIRIS-derived mineral and vegetation maps of the White Horse replacement alunite deposit and surrounding area, Marysvale volcanic field, Utah: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5117, 31 p.




Geographic and Geologic Setting of the White Horse Mine and Surrounding Area

Mineral and Vegetation Maps Derived from AVIRIS data

Processing and Analysis of ASTER Data

Mineral and Vegetation Maps Derived from ASTER Data

False-Color Composite Image—Vegetation, Snow, and Surface Albedo

Visible and Near-Infrared Mapping—Iron Minerals


Shortwave-Infrared Mapping and Detector “Scratch”

Advanced Argillic Alteration and Areal Mixing

Phyllic Alteration and Pyrophyllite




Argillic Alteration in Quartz Arenites

Kandite Clay Differentiation

Comparison of AVIRIS- and ASTER-Derived Mineral Maps





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