All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Sarah H Parcak

Advisory Committee Members

Akhlaque Haque

Jason Kirby

Scott Brande

Tingting Wu

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering

Abstract

This research study investigates the potential value of spectral information extraction of Hyperion hyperspectral, The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) and, Landsat 8 OLI remote sensing data for geological mapping and mineral exploration in a semi-arid region in the Southwestern Sinai, Egypt. Previous investigations of known uranium deposits reflect its economic importance and justifies exploration for additional prospects. The study area is subject to low average precipitation associated with sparse to nonexistent vegetation cover, making it quite an ideal location for this remote sensing study. This study tested a diversity of advanced hyperspectral analytical image processing techniques to identify and map alteration zones and minerals associated with uranium mineralization at a local scale. Remote sensing processing techniques used to extract and interpret spectral data included the following: principal components analysis (PCA), minimum noise fraction (MNF), color composites and band ratios, pixel purity index (PPI), n-D Visualizer techniques, and spectral classification using a spectral angle mapper (SAM) algorithm. The spatial distribution and intensity of alteration zone endmembers within the study area is related to known radioactive anomalous zones, especially at Talat Seleim, in the Um Bogma and Abu Thora Formations, in granitic rock to south, and along the alteration zones. Selected end-members include groups of iron oxide and clay minerals, and individual endmember minerals such as ferrous iron, kaolinite, gibbsite, goethite, gypsum, hematite, and quartz. Samples were collected from a limited number of field locations and analyzed for mineral and radioisotopic content. Analytical results using XRD and EDS/SEM is important because secondary uranium deposits are known to be associated with zones of chemical weathering (alteration zones) in which clay minerals and iron oxides are abundant. Measurement of radioisotopes by HPGe detected a number of daughter products in both the U-235 and U-238 decay chains, thus confirming the presence of these uranium parent isotopes in the samples, and thus the geological deposits at the sampled locations. Results of these analyses support the potential for uranium mineral exploration in the southwestern Sinai by through an integration of selective satellite dataset image processing techniques calibrated by geological ground-truth data.

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