Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Osinski, Gordon R.

2nd Supervisor

Neish, Catherine D.


3rd Supervisor

Tornabene, Livio L.



The role of remote sensing in geological mapping has been rapidly growing by providing predictive maps in advance of field surveys. Remote predictive maps with broad spatial coverage have been produced for northern Canada and the Canadian Arctic which are typically very difficult to access. Multi and hyperspectral airborne and spaceborne sensors are widely used for geological mapping as spectral characteristics are able to constrain the minerals and rocks that are present in a target region. Rock surfaces in the Canadian Arctic are altered by extensive glacial activity and freeze-thaw weathering, and form different surface roughnesses depending on rock type. Different physical surface properties, such as surface roughness and soil moisture, can be revealed by distinct radar backscattering signatures at different polarizations. This thesis aims to provide a multidisciplinary approach for remote predictive mapping that integrates the lithological and physical surface properties of target rocks. This work investigates the physical surface properties of geological units in the Tunnunik and Haughton impact structures in the Canadian Arctic characterized by polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR). It relates the radar scattering mechanisms of target surfaces to their lithological compositions from multispectral analysis for remote predictive geological mapping in the Canadian Arctic. This work quantitatively estimates the surface roughness relative to the transmitted radar wavelength and volumetric soil moisture by radar scattering model inversion. The SAR polarization signatures of different geological units were also characterized, which showed a significant correlation with their surface roughness. This work presents a modified radar scattering model for weathered rock surfaces. More broadly, it presents an integrative remote predictive mapping algorithm by combining multispectral and polarimetric SAR parameters.

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Geology Commons