Optical-Radar-DEM Remote Sensing Data Integration for Geological Mapping in the Afar Depression, Ethiopia


The advantages of integrating optical (Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)) and radar (Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR) - C, X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and RADARSAT-1) remote sensing data, and digital elevation models (DEMs) (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)) for geological mapping in arid regions such as the Afar Depression in Ethiopia are demonstrated. The Afar Depression in NE Africa is a natural laboratory for studying processes of sea-floor spreading and the transition from rifting to true sea-floor spreading. It is ideal for geological remote sensing because of its vastness, remoteness and inaccessibility together with almost continuous exposure, and lack of vegetation and soil cover. Optical-radar-DEM remote sensing data integration is used for: (1) Distinguishing spatial and temporal distribution of individual lava flows in the Quaternary Erta 'Ale Volcanic Range in the northern part of the Afar Depression, by integrating band-ratios of ASTER thermal infrared (TIR) data with Landsat ETM+ visible and near infrared (VNIR) and SIR-C/X-SAR L-band (λ = 24 cm) data with horizontally transmitted and horizontally received (HH) polarization. (2) Visualizing and interpreting extensional imbrication fans that constitute part of the Dobe Graben in the central part of the Afar Depression by integrating Landsat ETM+ VNIR data with RADARSAT C-band (λ = 6 cm) data with HH polarization and SRTM DEMs. These imbrication fans were developed as layer-parallel gravitational slip of the border fault hanging-wall towards the graben center. (3) Mapping morphologically defined structures in rhyolite flows exposed on the flanks of the Tendaho Rift by merging ASTER VNIR and short wave infrared (SWIR) with RADARSAT C-band data with HH polarization. The Tendaho Rift constitutes part of the Tendaho-Gobaad Discontinuity that separates the southern and the central eastern parts of the Afar Depression. Optical-radar-DEM data integration proved to be an effective approach for aiding geological mapping and structural analysis in arid regions such as the Afar Depression.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Data Integration; Dobe Graben; Optical-Radar; Mapping; Remote Sensing; Afar Depression; Erta 'Ale

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Article - Journal

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© 2005 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2006


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