GRSG Conference 2022: Orbit to Outcrop

Title: Estimation of rare earth element abundances using proximal and close-range remote sensing

Author: Veronika Kopackova-Strnadova


Rare earth elements (REE) became a strategic raw material in 21st century, in particular due to high demand in electronic industry and green-energy devices. Carbonatites (mostly intrusive igneous rocks containing > 50 modal% of magmatic carbonate minerals) frequently carry potentially economic levels of critical metals and are thus a prospective source of these elements.

Analytical methods (e.g., AAS, ICP-MS) are costly and time-consuming. In contrast, remote sensing (RS) has become a novel tool for detecting and quantifying geological materials. Modern RS methods (e.g., proximal remote sensing, mineral or imaging spectroscopy) thus represent an alternative means to conventional methods (chemical analysis-based assessment tools).

In this study, we investigated whether it is feasible to build quantitative predictions of bulk REE concentrations in carbonatite samples which had different geographic origin and mineral composition. Proximal remote sensing data acquired by VIS/NIR/SWIR spectrometer (SR 2500, Spectral Evolution) and hyperspectral VIS/NIR imaging data acquired by a PIKA L camera (RESONON) were analysed using multivariate statistical methods were employed. The results as well as the effects of sample homogeneity and spatial resolution are discussed.