Spectral and thermal mapping of desert surface sediments for agricultural development
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Citation (published version)M Koch, A Gaber. 2015. "Spectral and Thermal Mapping of Desert Surface Sediments for Agricultural Development." Journal of Integrated Field Science, Volume 12, pp. 73 - 77.
A combination of multispectral, thermal and microwave data obtained from space and supported by ground measurements are used to investigate the surface sediment characteristics of a desert plain area in Egypt (El-Gallaba Plain, NW of Aswan). This plain once hosted an ancestral river system that is nowadays largely covered by aeolian and gravelly sands, and thus, only detectible with radar and thermal images. The methodology consists of extracting thermo-physical and textural parameters to guide and improve supervised spectral classification results. The results show that surface mineralogy (obtained from spectral information) correlates strongly with surface emissivity, whereas grain size and surface roughness strongly correlates with apparent thermal inertia. Furthermore, several broad strips of thermal cooling-anomalies are arranged in a linear fashion and diagonally crossing the alluvial basin. The sediments within these strips show very different textural, thermo-physical and compositional characteristics with respect to the surrounding areas suggesting that they were deposited under different depositional environments such as structurally controlled linear basins. These tectonic depressions were confirmed by ground penetrating radar and could be promising areas for groundwater accumulation and exploration enabling agricultural development in the El-Gallaba Plain of the Western Desert in Egypt.