Landsat-TM-based discrimination of lithological units associated with the Purtuniq ophiolite, Quebec, Canada

David Leverington, Wooil Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


In order to better constrain the utility of multispectral datasets in the characterization of surface materials, Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data were evaluated in the discrimination of geological classes in the Cape Smith Belt of Quebec, a greenstone belt that hosts Early Proterozoic units including those of the Purtuniq ophiolite. Ground-based measurements collected for the study area highlight the importance of chemical alteration in controlling the reflectance properties of key geological classes. The spatial distribution of exposed lithologies in the study area was determined through (1) image classification using a feedforward backpropagation neural network classifier; and (2) generation of fraction images for spectral end members using a linear unmixing algorithm and ground reflectance data. Despite some shortcomings, the database of surface cover generated by the neural network classifier is a useful representation of the spatial distribution of exposed geological materials in the study area, with an overall agreement with ground truth of 87.7%. In contrast, the fraction images generated through unmixing are poor representations of ground truth for several key lithological classes. These results underscore both the considerable utility and marked limitations of Landsat TM data in the mapping of igneous and metamorphic lithologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1231
Number of pages24
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Deconvolution
  • Geology
  • Neural network
  • Reflectance
  • Thematic mapper


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