REMOTE SENSING APPLIED TO PALEONTOLOGY: EXPLORATION OF UPPER CRETACEOUS SEDIMENTS IN KAZAKHSTAN FOR POTENTIAL FOSSIL SITES
Here we show that low-cost analysis of satellite image data (derived from Landsat ETM+) can be used efficiently for the ‘remote prospecting’ of a large field area, in this test case in Kazakhstan. By developing a spectral library to characterize the sedimentary profiles in our field area, we outline a simple method that can be used to quickly identify the locations of potentially fossiliferous strata that can subsequently be prospected first-hand by paleontologists on the ground. We have successfully tested this remote approach to search for fossils in the Lower Syrdarya Uplift in southern Kazakhstan - an area that encompasses more than 17,000 square kilometers. As image capture and analysis technologies develop, remote prospecting (sensing) applications are likely to become more and more prevalent in paleontology, especially in the development of remote field areas.
Key Words: Spectral analysis; GIS; Remote Sensing; sedimentology; Kazakhstan; dinosaurs; Syrdarya Uplift
PE Article Number: 12.2.3T
Copyright: Society for Vertebrate Paleontology August 2009
Submission: 28 May 2008. Acceptance: 23 April 2009