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hyperspectral imager in lab
Hyperspectral imager and laboratory scanning platform, operated by USGS scientist Todd Hoefen. VNIR sensor is mounted on the left (blue box) and SWIR sensor is mounted on the right (red box). Photo by Gregg Swayze, USGS.

Why is USGS developing and calibrating the hyperspectral imager?

There is increasing demand for mineral mapping applied to identifying and defining deposits and associated hydrothermal systems, delimiting surface expressions of geologic structures that host deposits, and mitigating hazards associated with mineral resource extraction. The Mineral Resources Program has advanced methods of imaging spectroscopy (hyperspectral remote sensing) that are now used routinely by the earth science and remote sensing communities for mineral mapping, soil quality mapping, hazard mitigation, and other terrestrial and planetary applications. The USGS is highly qualified to advance this technology based on its world class expertise in mineral and material spectroscopy and extensive, well-characterized specimen collections (for example, the USGS spectral library). Our laboratories have set standards in the calibration of a wide range of laboratory, field, and imaging spectrometers. This breadth of expertise is critical to accomplishing this objective and provides a comprehensive perspective matched by few research groups.

What will USGS be doing?

Our objectives are to:

  1. Develop a calibrated hyperspectral imaging system to create mineral maps at high spatial resolution, pixel size as small as 24 microns in the laboratory and a few centimeters in the field.
  2. Demonstrate the capability of the hyperspectral imaging system in laboratory and field deployment to provide year-round scanning for hand samples and drill core sections, and outcrops and mine faces in the field.


Journal Articles

Graham, G.E., Kokaly, R.F., Kelley, K.D., Hoefen, T.M., Johnson, M.R., and Hubbard, B.E., 2018, Application of Imaging Spectroscopy for Mineral Exploration in Alaska: A Study over Porphyry Cu Deposits in the Eastern Alaska Range: Economic Geology, 113(2), p. 489-510, doi:10.5382/econgeo.2018.4559.

Data Releases

Kokaly, R.F., Johnson, M.R., Graham, G.E., Hoefen, T.M, Kelley, K.D., and Hubbard, B.E., 2018, Imaging spectrometer reflectance data, mineral predominance map, and white mica wavelength position map, Nabesna Quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


Graham, G.E., Kelley, K.D., and Kokaly, R.F., 2017, Airborne hyperspectral surveying as a tool for mineral exploration at high latitudes: a pilot study over porphyry Cu deposits, eastern Alaska Range, Alaska: 14th Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits Biennial Meeting, 20-23 August 2017, Quebec City, Canada.

Kokaly, R., et al., 2017, Exploration applications of laboratory, field, and airborne imaging spectrometer data collected from copper porphyry deposits: XVIII Brazilian Symposium on Remote Sensing, May 28-31, 2017, Santos - SP, Brazil. [Invited]

Kokaly, R.F., Graham, G.E., Hoefen, T.M., Kelley, K.D., Johnson, M.R., Hubbard, B.E., Buchhorn, M., and Prakash, A., 2017, Multiscale Hyperspectral Imaging of the Orange Hill Porphyry Copper Deposit, Alaska, USA, with Laboratory-, Field-, and Aircraft-based Imaging Spectrometers, in V. Tschirhart and M.D. Thomas, eds., Proceedings of Exploration 17, p. 923-943. View Exploration 17 Proceedings.

Project Contact

Raymond Kokaly
Phone: 303-236-1359
Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center

Mineral Resources Program Science Priority

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