Advanced mineral mapping technique, Earth surface composition in terms of mineralogy or lithology and/or quantification of rock or soil chemistry is essential for structural interpretation and to support prospecting for ores and hydrocarbons. In addition, high-resolution spectral imagery can assist in compiling objective geologic maps of mine highwalls and other hazardous slopes remotely. In the picture below mineral analysis.

Mineral analysis using the AVIRIS image for the Cuprite area in  (from Milosz Ciznicki)


PRISMA imagery having the capability to observe the full spectrum between 0.4-2.3 micron, will allow to discriminate and accurately classify a large variety of minerals and rock types which will improve and support many research fields as hydrogeological instability, volcanic areas, including the study of climate changes effects in Europe and Worldwide.

Moreover, PRISMA can be used to monitor waste management practice near mines, improve significantly the finding of hydrocarbon deposits and provide products related to geobotanical anomalies associated with hydrocarbon deposits (Asner and Lobell 2000).

PRISMA hyperspectral remote sensing data, giving the possibility to analyze the Shortwave Infrared portion of the spectrum, allow the detection and discrimination of NOA (Natural geologic occurrence of asbestos-bearing minerals/rocks) which is a potential hazard for human health if inhaled for long time.

Band Depth analysis is commonly applied to derive a quantitative assessment of the occurrence of a material of interest, i.e. in this case of the asbestos fibers (Clark & Roush, 1984; Kokaly & Clark, 1999) and dividing the spectrum by this fitted continuum line. This allows comparing the shapes of their absorption features thus enhancing the quantitative surface compositional mapping.

The application of this method has been already tested and validated on the natural outcrops of serpentine occurring in the Basilicata region in southern Italy

Hyperion data used for detecting NOA outcrops (depicted in red only for visualization purposes) by using the 2.1-2.4 m SWIR spectral range.


Results highlight that NOA outcrops (not covered by vegetation) can be mapped and quantified (as low-medium-high level abundance of exposed asbestos-rocks) by using hyperspectral satellite data. The obtained results show the potential and encourage the use of the future PRISMA data to identify NOA deposits and even roads asphalted with serpentine aggregates, located in areas where there is both the need of dust control and gaps in geologic mapping in areas of difficult to access. Thus the derived asbestos feature maps allow enhancing the analysis of surface compositional mapping (Swayze et al. 2009).

PRISMA, having the possibility of analizining the SWIR bands, could allow to obtain the spectral emissivity and the sub-pixel temperature. Thus, PRISMA  could give a large and fast view of volcanic area (Buongiorno et al. 2013, Colini et al. 2014).



[1]     Asner, G.P. and D.B. Lobell, A biogeophysical approach for automated SWIR unmixing of soils and vegetation. Remote Sensing of Environment 74:99-112, 2000.

[2]     Buongiorno M.F., Amici S., Colini L., Corradini S., Doumaz F., Lombardo V., Merucci L., Musacchio M., Silvestri M., Spinetti C. (2013). Remote-sensing methods applied to the volcanic phenomena study: satellite missions and inversion techniques overview for parameter estimates by means of imaging data in the VIS-IR. XCIX Convegno Nazionale SIF. Trieste 23-27 Settembre 2013.

[3]     Clark R. N. and Roush T. L. (1984). Reflectance spectroscopy: Quantitative analysis techniques for remote sensing applications. Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 89, Issue 87, 6329–6340.

[4]     Colini, L., Spinetti, C., Amici, S., Buongiorno, M. F., Caltabiano, T., Doumaz, F., Favalli, M., Giammanco, S., Isola, I., La Spina, A., Lombardo, V., Mazzarini, F., Musacchio, M., Neri, M., Salerno, G., Silvestri, M., Teggi, S., Sarli, V., Cafaro, P., Mancini, M., D'Andrea, S., Curci, G., Ananasso, C. (2014), Hyperspectral spaceborne, airborne and ground measurements campaign on Mt. Etna: Multi data acquisitions in the frame of Prisma Mission (ASI-AGI Project n. I/016/11/0), QUADERNI DI GEOFISICA, vol. 119, p. 1-51, ISSN: 1590-2595.

[5]     Kokaly, R. F., & Clark, R. N. (1999). Spectroscopic determination of leaf biochemistry using band-depth analysis of absorption features and stepwise multiple linear regression. Remote Sensing of Environment, 67, 267−287.

[6]     Swayze G.A., Kokaly R.F., Higgins C.T., Clinkenbeard J.P., Clark R.N., Lowers H.A. and Sutley S.J. (2009). Mapping potentially asbestos-bearing rocks using imaging spectroscopy. Geological Society of America v. 37; no. 8; p. 763–766.