Application Of Remote Sensing To Geothermal Prospecting

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Journal Article: Application Of Remote Sensing To Geothermal Prospecting

This paper presents a summary of a laboratory and field research program designed to evaluate the application of remote sensing techniques to geothermal exploration and development. The primary objective was to establish the feasibility of performing initial reconnaissance of an unmapped area with airborne or spacecraft remote sensors. The field experiments were conducted against a series of known geothermal regions in California. These regions were chosen to represent a typical range of geologic and environmental settings. It was attempted to relate remotely sensed and in-situ geophysical measurements of representative geothermal regions through a diurnal and seasonal range of variation. Effects of varying flight altitude on thermal anomaly << signatures a are also presented. Multiband photography in the visible and near infra-red was used to delineate anomalous spectral reflectance associated with hydrothermal alteration zones, passive IR imagery and radiometry in the 8 to 14 μ band, as well as passive microwave radiometry at 16 and 19 GHz was used to detect combined temperature and emissivity anomalies. Preliminary laboratory studies of field samples served to define the sensor passbands to be employed and permit later interpretation of observed effects. Ground controls on the experiment included detailed thermometric, gravity, magnetic and subsurface heat flow mapping. The major results of this investigation may be summarized as the identification of temperature anomalies in not only the infrared; but also the microwave, Rayleigh-Jeans region of the spectrum. Subsidiary conclusions were the uniform presence of visible alteration haloes, soil moisture anomalies, and apparent structural control of the thermal zones. While these techniques were applied in the nature of a controlled experiment, the results are considered generally applicable to related problems of geologic reconnaissance.

D. T. Hodder

Published Journal 
Geothermics, 1970



D. T. Hodder. 1970. Application Of Remote Sensing To Geothermal Prospecting. Geothermics. (!) .