Geothermal Exploration in Eastern California Using Aster Thermal Infrared Data

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Report: Geothermal Exploration in Eastern California Using Aster Thermal Infrared Data

Abstract

Remote sensing is a cost‐effective tool that can be used to cover large areas for the purpose of geothermal exploration. A particular application is the use of satellite thermal infrared (TIR) imagery from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument aboard an orbiting satellite. It can be used to search remotely for elevated surface temperatures, which may be associated with geothermal resources. The study region is in the central part of eastern California, with emphasis on the Coso geothermal field. Nighttime scenes are most useful, because of the significantly diminished effect of solar irradiation compared with daytime. However, daytime scenes are also used for correction purposes. It is shown that TIR imagery cannot be interpreted correctly without proper removal of various effects that are not related to geothermal characteristics. These effects are caused by factors such as terrain distortion due to topographic variability, topographic slope aspect (southern slopes are warmer than northern slopes), albedo (dark‐colored surfaces are warmer than light‐colored ones), thermal inertia (surfaces with low thermal inertia cool off more at night), elevation (areas at lower altitudes are warmer than those at higher altitudes), and temperature inversions (local meteorological conditions sometimes cause cooler temperatures at the bottom of valleys and warmer temperatures higher up). Taking these effects into account makes it possible to reveal temperature anomalies, which are otherwise not distinguishable in the uncorrected imagery. Ground‐based measurements were also carried out during several field trips, some of which took place concurrently with the satellite passages and ASTER data collection. The integration of remote sensing with field

observations is promising for future exploration studies.

Author 
Mariana Eneva





Organization 
California Energy Commission



Published 
California Energy Commission, 2010



Report Number 
CEC‐500‐2012‐005


DOI 
Not Provided
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Online 
Internet link for Geothermal Exploration in Eastern California Using Aster Thermal Infrared Data

Citation

Mariana Eneva (California Energy Commission). 2010. Geothermal Exploration in Eastern California Using Aster Thermal Infrared Data. N/A: California Energy Commission. Report No.: CEC‐500‐2012‐005.