Close-range hyperspectral imaging for geological field studies: workflow and methods
Close-range hyperspectral imaging is a new method for geological research, in which imaging spectrometry is applied from the ground, allowing the mineralogy and lithology in near-vertical cliff sections to be studied in detail. Contemporary outcrop studies often make use of photorealistic three-dimensional (3D) models, derived from terrestrial laser scanning (lidar), that facilitate geological interpretation of geometric features. Hyperspectral imaging provides complementary geochemical information that can be combined with lidar models, enhancing quantitative and qualitative analyses. This article describes a complete workflow for applying close-range hyperspectral imaging, from planning the optimal scan conditions and data acquisition, through pre-processing the hyperspectral imagery and spectral mapping, integration with lidar photorealistic 3D models, and analysis of the geological results. Pre-processing of the hyperspectral images involves the reduction of scanner artefacts and image discontinuities, as well as relative reflectance calibration using empirical line correction, based on two calibrated reflection targets. Signal-to-noise ratios better than 70:1 are achieved for materials with 50% reflectance. The lidar-based models are textured with products such as hyperspectral classification maps. Examples from carbonate and siliciclastic geological environments are presented, with results showing that spectrally similar material, such as different dolomite types or sandstone and siltstone, can be distinguished and spectrally mapped. This workflow offers a novel and flexible technique for applications, in which a close-range instrument setup is required and the spatial distribution of minerals or chemical variations is valuable.