Joint PhD Studentship BAS/University of Hull in hyperspectral remote sensing

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Joint PhD Studentship BAS/University of Hull in hyperspectral remote sensing

Fleming, Andrew H.

BAS anticipates a studentship in the following topic in 2012 (subject to funding)

Investigating the potential of hyperspectral data for geological mapping in remote Polar Regions

Supervisors: Andrew Fleming, Teal Riley (BAS); Graham Ferrier (at University of Hull)

Spectral remote sensing offers potential for improving our understanding of the geology of the Antarctic Peninsula by undertaking lithological mapping of unmapped rock exposures and providing information to validate less certain and/or inferred field mapping. The use of remote sensing technology for geological mapping is an established technique in other parts of the world but has only begun to be applied to the Antarctic in the past few years. Applying these techniques to increasingly detailed (spatially and spectrally) airborne and satellite data provides potential for building a more detailed and complete geological map. Using airborne hyperspectral data allows development of these methods in the Antarctic and for use by future space based hyperspectral sensors. The predicted benefits are numerous, but include more accurate, time-efficient and cost-efficient geological mapping (including better documentation of volcanic rocks and landforms).

The overall aim of the proposed PhD project is to exploit and develop the novel hyperspectral dataset that has been successfully acquired over Adelaide Island in February 2011. This unique dataset was acquired in conjunction with ITRES ( and included acquisition of visible, NIR, SWIR and thermal wavelength hyperspectral data. This data is also being used to investigate changes in vegetation cover and type but is ideally suited to geological application. It is very likely that this project will work closely with those involved in the vegetation study.
The integration of airborne spectral reflectance and emissivity data, together with ground observations and samples, will be used to address diverse geological mapping problems of immediate interest to scientists working in the Antarctic. The emission spectra from a rock are extremely sensitive to variations in the fabric and bulk chemistry of the rock and the composition of the constituent mineral species. This emission spectral imagery data will permit the identification of distinct felsic and mafic mineralogy and in the case of plutonic rock types, will be used to determine the range of compositions (from tonalite – granodiorite – granite – quartz monzonite) and give an indication on the evolutionary stage of the continental arc.

To achieve the overall project aim, the following objectives are identified:
• To develop geological mapping algorithms, which discriminate surface materials through their spectral reflectance, spectral and thermal emissivity and topographic signatures, to a diverse range of geological settings including basement, volcanic and sedimentary rocks.
• To characterise and quantify the proportional component of the spectral response attributed to vegetation and other surface materials.
• To implement geological mapping algorithms to incorporate intelligent mapping approaches such as spectral unmixing and rule-based classification.
• Use remote sensing techniques to differentiate between main plutonic rock types of the Antarctic Peninsula (e.g. granodiorite, tonalite, gabbro, granite). This will provide a significant contribution to the goal of the BAS Geological Sciences mapping programme in establishing the geological evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula.
• Develop geological mapping tools based on an integrated hyperspectral reflectance and spectral emissivity remote sensing approach that will compliment field based geological mapping work.

The results of the project will be disseminated in high-impact specialist journals (e.g., Remote Sensing of Environment) in addition to cross-disciplinary journals (e.g., Journal of Geophysical Research), as well as contributing to the production of geological and maps of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The PhD student will be based at the British Antarctic Survey but will also spend time at the University of Hull. The ideal student will have an excellent degree in the Earth Sciences and a strong interest in remote sensing, however training in remote sensing techniques will be provided. The NERC PhD Studentship is linked to the British Antarctic Survey Environmental Change and Evolution programme. As such it will contribute to wider studies of the geological and ice-sheet structure that influence the unique role of the polar regions in environmental change and evolution. Further information about the ECE programme can be found here -

The project will not require any fieldwork. Field observations acquired in support of the February 2011 airborne campaign included spectral reflectance profiles of representative lithologies. This spectral library will be expanded to include reflectance profiles of archived samples from the region. A full suite of petrographical and laboratory analyses will be conducted to correlate the measurements of spectral emissivity and reflectance to mineral crystallography and igneous petrology.

The studentship is expected to last 3.5 years from October 2012 subject to NERC funding. Stipend for 2011/2012 was £13,590 p.a. For more information see and for eligibility go to

Applications for this anticipated studentship should be addressed to Andrew Fleming, include a covering letter, CV and the e-mail address of two referees and sent to [hidden email]. Please quote reference number BASDTG/flem/1. Closing date for applications: 31st January 2012. For further details about the British Antarctic Survey please see:

This description is available online at


Andrew Fleming
British Antarctic Survey
Madingley Road
t. +44 (0)1223 221451


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This message (and any attachments) is for the recipient only. NERC
is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the contents
of this email and any reply you make may be disclosed by NERC unless
it is exempt from release under the Act. Any material supplied to
NERC may be stored in an electronic records management system.
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