EVALUATION OF ASTER IMAGES FOR CHARACTERIZATION AND MAPPING OF AMETHYST MINING RESIDUES
The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), subsystems VNIR (Visible and Near Infrared) and SWIR (Short Wave Infrared) images, for discrimination and mapping of amethyst mining residues (basalt) in the Ametista do Sul Region, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil. This region provides the most part of amethyst mining of the World. The basalt is extracted during the mining process and deposited outside the mine. As a result, mounts of residues (basalt) rise up. These mounts are many times smaller than ASTER pixel size (VNIR – 15 meters and SWIR – 30 meters). Thus, the pixel composition becomes a mixing of various materials, hampering its identification and mapping. Trying to solve this problem, multispectral algorithm Maximum Likelihood (MaxVer) and the hyperspectral technique SAM (Spectral Angle Mapper) were used in this work. Images from ASTER subsystems VNIR and SWIR were used to perform the classifications. SAM technique produced better results than MaxVer algorithm. The main error found by the techniques was the mixing between "shadow" and "mining residues/basalt" classes. With the SAM technique the confusion decreased because it employed the basalt spectral curve as a reference, while the multispectral techniques employed pixels groups that could have spectral mixture with other targets. The results showed that in tropical terrains as the study area, ASTER data can be efficacious for the characterization of mining residues.