Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Micha Pazner


The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) is a 14 band multi-spectral instrument on board the Earth Observing System (EOS), TERRA. With three bands in the visible and near infrared (VNIR), six short wave infrared bands and five thermal infrared (TIR) bands, the ASTER sensor is capable of detecting and mapping lithology and minerals related to gold mineralization. The objective of this research was to evaluate the use of ASTER imagery for both lithologie and mineral mapping on Montafia de Oro (MDO), a circa 550 square kilometre property in north-western Mexico. MDO is located in a prolific epithermal gold region with igneous lithology, steep terrain and moderate vegetation cover. Various remote sensing techniques were applied to the ASTER data including image enhancements, thermal analyses and supervised classification algorithms. The derived imagery was superimposed with probable lineaments, vegetation and published geologic maps. Results from this study demonstrate ASTER imagery was able to detect various alteration minerals associated with gold mineralization throughout the property. The results from lithologic mapping; however, were quite limited in comparison. Although some lithologie distinction could be achieved, ASTER imagery was not able to provide spectral differentiation for most of the igneous suites on MDO, nor could it produce results that agreed with previous geologic maps. The level of accuracy obtained was attributed to the narrow petrographic range, various environmental factors and limited / ambiguous prior geologic mapping.



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