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Using Sentinel-2 MSI for mapping iron oxide minerals on a continental and global scale
  • Harald van der Werff,
  • Robert Hewson
Harald van der Werff
University of Twente

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Robert Hewson
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Iron is the fourth most common element found in the earth crust. Although it may not be as important for soil fertility as, e.g., phosphorus, nitrogen and organic matter, its absence would be detrimental to plant growth. At the same time, iron oxides are highly correlated with phosphorus availability. Iron is thus an indicator for soil fertility and the usability of an area for cultivation of crop. A relatively high spectral resolution is needed for mapping iron oxide contents with spectral reflectance data, and remote sensing is the only suitable tool for surveying large areas at a high temporal and spatial interval. Sentinel-2 MSI (MultiSpectral Instrument) is the Landsat-like spatial resolution (10–60 m) super-spectral instrument of the European Space Agency (ESA), aimed at additional data continuity for global land surface monitoring with Landsat and Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT) missions. Several studies with simulated and real data have been conducted in the last several years to show the potential of Sentinel-2 MSI, including its use for geological remote sensing, mineral mapping in particular. Sentinel-2 has several bands that cover the 0.9 μm iron absorption feature, while space-borne sensors traditionally used for geologic remote sensing, like ASTER and Landsat, had only one band in this feature. In this paper, we show a comparison of Sentinel-2 and AVIRIS to demonstrate the usability of the VNIR bands for mapping the near-infrared iron absorption feature. Next, we present spectral indices for mapping iron minerals that are important in soil fertility and mineral exploration.