Spectroscopy Lab


Researchers at the USGS Spectroscopy Lab are studying and applying methods for identifying and mapping materials through spectroscopic remote sensing (called imaging spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging,imaging spectrometry, ultraspectral imaging, etc), on the earth and throughout the solar system using laboratory, field, airborne and spacecraft spectrometers.

USGS Digital Spectral Libraries

USGS Digital Spectral Libraries

Reflectance spectra of minerals, mineral mixtures, rock coatings, liquids, frozen volatiles, organic compounds, manmade materials, vegetation, and other biological materials. You can download the main spectral library

Spectral Library

Hyperspectral Imaging Spectrometer Maps

Hyperspectral Imaging Spectrometer Maps

Maps of hyperspectral imaging spectrometer data used to identify and characterize mineral deposits, vegetation, and other land surface features.

Hyperspectral Maps


Date published: June 12, 2019

Spectroscopy Lab Hosts Hyperspectral Imaging-UAS Training

The USGS Spectroscopy Laboratory hosted hyperspectral calibration and imaging from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) training in June.

Date published: April 5, 2018

USGS Scientists Develop New Tool to Determine if Vermiculite Insulation Contains Asbestos

U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners have created an onsite, time-saving technique for building inspectors to ascertain whether vermiculite insulation contains amphibole asbestos. The findings are featured in the April 2 edition of American Mineralogist.


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Year Published: 2020

Quantifying uncertainty for remote spectroscopy of surface composition

Remote surface measurements by imaging spectrometers play an important role in planetary and Earth science. To make these measurements, investigators calibrate instrument data to absolute units, invert physical models to estimate atmospheric effects, and then determine surface properties from the spectral reflectance. This study quantifies the...

Thompson, David R.; Braverman, Amy; Brodrick, Philip; Candela, Alberto; Carmon, Nimrod; Clark, Roger N.; Connelly, David; Green, Robert O.; Kokaly, Raymond; Li, Longlei; Mahowald, Natalie; Miller, Ronald L.; Okin, Gregory S.; Painter, Thomas H.; Swayze, Gregg A.; Turmon, Michael; Susilouto, Jouni; Wettergreen, David

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Year Published: 2020

Dust deposited on snow cover in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, 2011-2016: Compositional variability bearing on snow-melt effects

Light-absorbing particles in atmospheric dust deposited on snow cover (dust-on-snow, DOS) diminish albedo and accelerate the timing and rate of snow melt. Identification of these particles and their effects are relevant to snow-radiation modeling and thus water-resource management. Laboratory-measured reflectance of DOS samples from the San Juan...

Reynolds, Richard L.; Goldstein, Harland L.; Moskowitz, Bruce M.; Kokaly, Raymond; Munson, Seth M.; Solheid, Peat; Breit, George N.; Lawrence, Corey R.; Derry, Jeff

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Year Published: 2020

Classification of oil spill by thicknesses using multiple remote sensors

Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is an operational tool for monitoring and assessment of oil spills. Satellite SAR has primarily been used to detect the presence/absence of oil, yet its ability to discriminate oil emulsions within a detected oil slick has not been fully exploited. Additionally, one of the challenges in the past has been...

Garcia-Pineda, Oscar; Staples, Gordon; Jones, Cathleen E; Hu, Chuanmin; Holt, Benjamin; Kourafalou, Villy; Graettinger, George; DiPinto, Lisa; Ramirez, Ellen; Street, David; Cho, Jay; Swayze, Gregg A.; Sun, Shaojie; Garcia, Diana; Haces-Garcia, Francisco