Satellite Images for Mining and Mineral Exploration

Satellite images for Mining and Mineral Exploration have benefited geologists, scientists and exploration managers due to the sensor containing multiple band colors which allows them to interpret wavelengths that cannot be seen by the human eye, such as near infrared, short wave infrared and thermal infrared to identify the difference in structural features of the earth’s surface.

Pleiades (0.5m) Satellite Image of Bingham Copper Mine

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Copyright © ASTRIUM and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.

satellite image bingham mineASTER (15m) Satellite Image Escondida Mine, Chile

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aster-miningASTER satellite image of  Escondida Cu-Au-Ag open-pit mine is at an elevation of 3050 meters, and came on stream in 1990. Current capacity is 127,000 tons/day of ore; in 1999 production totaled 827,000 tons of copper, 150,000 ounces of gold and 3.53 million ounces of silver. Primary concentration of the ore is done on-site; the concentrate is then sent to the coast for further processing through a 170 km long, 9 pipe. Escondida is related geologically to three porphyry bodies intruded along the Chilean West Fissure Fault System. A high grade supergene cap overlies primary sulfide ore. The above ASTER satellite image displays SWIR bands 4-6-8 in RGB, and highlights lithologic and alteration differences of surface units. Satellite image acquired on April 23, 2000.

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image Marcona Mine, Peru

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation. All Rights Reserved.)

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GeoEye-1 (0.5m) satellite image of Marcona, Peru was collected on August 23, 2009. The major industry in the Marcona District is the Marcona Mine, an open-pit iron mine. The mine was acquired in 1992 by Shougang Corporation a state owned Chinese corporation which does business locally as Shougang Hiero Peru.

ASTER (15m) Satellite Image of Mine in Baiyun Ebo, Inner Mongolia, China

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ASTER (15m) satellite image of mine in Baiyun Ebo, Inner Mongolia, China is the site of almost half the world’s rare earth production. China is responsible for over 95% of global production of rare earth elements. These elements are critical ingredients in catalytic converters, cell phones, televisions, lasers, magnets, batteries, and other high-tech gizmos. China’s export restrictions have led the US, Japan and the European Union to complain to the World Trade Organization, claiming China was violating trade agreements. The US at one time was a leading producer of rare earths, but most of the mines have been closed. Recently, several US companies are in the process of attempting to re-open these mines and resume mining of rare earths. The ASTER satellite image was acquired on June 30, 2006.

ASTER (15m) Satellite Image of Morenci Mine, Arizona

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satellite image morenci-mine

The Morenci open-pit copper mine in southeast Arizona is North America’s leading producer of copper. In the 1860s, prospectors arrived looking for gold; instead they found copper. Underground mining began in the 1870s, and the first pit was opened in 1939. Phelps Dodge employs over 200 people in the mining and refining operations. Around-the-clock removal of 700,000 tons of rock per day results in production of 382 thousand tons of copper per year. Phelps Dodge is now developing the Safford Mine, about 12 km southwest of Morenci. It will be the first new copper mine in the US in more than 30 years. When production starts in 2008, the Safford Mine will produce 109 thousand tons of copper. This ASTER (15m) satellite image uses short wavelength infrared bands to highlight in bright pink the altered rocks in the Morenci pit associated with copper mineralization. The satellite image was acquired on July 14, 2007.

ASTER (15m) Satellite Image of Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine , California

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The Mountain Pass rare earth mine is an open-pit mine of rare earth elements (REEs) in southeastern California near the Nevada border. REEs are vital for the electronics industry, auto manufacturing, and a wide range of other high-tech products. The mine once supplied most of the world’ rare earth elements until its closure in 2002. Since then, China has taken over as the leading supplier of REEs, producing over 96% of the world’s supply. In 2008, Mountain Pass was purchased by a new operator, who plans to produce 20-25% of the world’s REEs by 2014. The ASTER (15m) satellite image was acquired March 28, 2010.

ASTER (15m) Satellite Image of Naica Mine in Chihuahua, Mexico

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Satellite Image of Naica Mine in Chihuahua, Mexico

The Naica mine in Chihuahua, Mexico, with its enormous gypsum crystals, may well be called the Queen of the Giant Crystals localities. Though the Naica mine is no show mine, but still a working lead-zinc mine hosted in layered limestones, the first of several crystal caves was discovered in 1910. This Cave of the Swords contained extraordinary large sword-like selenite (gypsum) crystals up to 2 meter long. In 2000 another crystal cave system was discovered at 300 meter depth, even more spectacular than the original cave. Inside were free growing gypsum crystals up to 12 meter long and 2 meter in diameter. The ASTER (15m) satellite image uses SWIR bands 4, 6, and 8 in RGB. Limestone is displayed in yellow-green colors, vegetation is red. The satellite image was acquired February 16, 2004.

ASTER Satellite images credit to NASA/GSFC/METI/Japan Space Systems and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation

For more information on remote sensing technology using satellite imagery for mining and mineral exploration, visit here.

Satellite Images for Natural Disaster Monitoring

Satellite images incorporated with geographic information systems (GIS) can give emergency officials a wealth of information for assessment, analysis and natural disaster monitoring such as droughts, landslides, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

WorldView-2 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Mount Merapi, Java, Indonesia – Post Volcanic Eruption

November 11, 2010

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(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe/Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

Satellite Image Mount Merapi, Indonesia

Natural disasters have caused major loss of human lives and livelihoods, the destruction of economic and social infrastructure, as well as environmental damages from small to large regions around the globe.

Prior to a disaster, high resolution satellite image data helps pinpoint where previous disaster events have occurred, where they are likely to occur in the future and the costs associated with historical events. After a natural disaster, satellite images can be used to determine the extent of landscape change and monitor the progress of recovery. Satellite imagery allows a larger land mass to be studied in a shorter amount of time than is possible with traditional ground cover study methods.

Satellite images gives state and government agencies the ability to view the damage from multiple vantage points. The spatial resolution of an image determines the ability to view individual features such as buildings and bridges. It also affects the ability to monitor and assess damage conditions, and depends on the nature of the disaster itself.

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Damage, Okuma, Japan – Post Earthquake and Tsunami

April 12, 2011

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(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite images natural disasters

 

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite image of Post Earthquake Port-au-Prince in Haiti

 January 13, 2010

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(Image Credit: GeoEye/Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

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IKONOS (1m) Satellite Image Hurricane Katrina Before and After – New Orleans, Louisiana

August 28, 2002 – September 2, 2005

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(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image hurricane katrina damage

QuickBird (0.6m) Satellite Image Mudslide in Zhugqu, China

August 10, 2010

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(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe/Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

Satellite Image Mudslide-Zhugqu, China

WorldView-2 (0.5m) Satellite Image Post Flooding in Nowshera, Pakistan

 August 5, 2010

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(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe/Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

Flooding-Nowshera, Pakistan

Pleiades (0.5m) and WorldView-2 (0.5m) Satellite Images of Moore, Oklahoma Tornado Damage

April 29, 2011

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(Image Credit: ASTRIUM/DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

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Satellite Images of 2011 – Making History

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Egyptian Protests in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image egypt protests

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Tsunami Damage at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Okuma, Japan

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite images natural disasters

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Tsunami Damage in Sendai, Japan

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

"GeoEye"

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Easter Services at St. Basilica’s Church, Vatican City, Rome

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image vatican-city rome st. .peter's cathedral basilic de san pietro

IKONOS (0.8m) Satellite Image of Tornado Damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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satellite image Oklahoma tornado

IKONOS (0.8m) Satellite Image  London, England - Royal Wedding Route

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GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Space Shuttle Endeavor’s Last Voyage

Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image kennedy space center

IKONOS (0.8m) Satellite Image of Osama bin Laden’s Compund in Abbottabad, Pakistan

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image osama bin laden compound

WorldView-2  (0.5m) Satellite Image of Mississippi River Flooding in New Madrid, Missouri

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image lfooding New Madrid, Missouri

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Missouri River Flooding in Bismarck, North Dakota

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image flooding bismarck

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Flooding of Souris River in Minot, North Dakota

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(Copyright © GeoEye and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

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WorldView-2  (0.5m) Satellite Image of Space Shuttle Atlantis Final Mission at Merritt Island, Florida

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image Space Shuttle Atlantis

WorldView-2  (0.5m) Satellite Image of Gaddafi Compound in Tripoli, Libya

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image Gaddafhi Compound

WorldView-2  (0.5m) Satellite Image of Hurricane Irene Damage in Killington, Vermont

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image hurricane irene Killington, Vermont

WorldView-2  (0.5m) Satellite Image of Bastrop Wildfires Damage in Bastrop, Texas

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image Bastrop Texas fires

WorldView-2  (0.5m) Satellite Image of Flooding in Bangkok, Thailand

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(Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image flooding Bangkok, Thailand

GeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii 70th Anniversary Memorial

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(Copyright © GeoEye and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)

satellite image pearl harbor hawaii

Satellite Images of Earth at Night

satellite image of Earth at Night

Earth at Night

This composite image, which has become a popular poster, shows a satellite images of Earth at night, compiled from over 400 satellite images. NASA researchers have used these images of nighttime lights to study weather around urban areas.

To view more satellite images taken around the World, visit here.