Comparison of ASTER and Sentinel-2 spaceborne datasets for geological mapping: a case study from North-East Greenland


Sara Salehi*1, Christian Mielke2, Christian Brogaard Pedersen1, Simun Dalsenni Olsen1


GEUS Bulletin Vol 43 | e2019430205 | Published online: 17 July 2019

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Spaceborne remote sensing is a suitable tool for early mineral exploration and surveying large areas of high Arctic environment in a fast and cost-effective manner. While spaceborne data have been used widely to map geology in arid areas, similar approaches for remotely-sensed geological mapping of Arctic environments is yet to be developed. Freely available spaceborne optical data provides detailed information of high-quality that could potentially reduce resource exploration risk in remote regions. To this end, this study compares the use of two different multispectral spaceborne datasets (i.e. the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) and Sentinel-2) to map geological units in and around Wollaston Forland, North-East Greenland – an area rich in Jurassic and Cretaceous sedimentary rocks and important targets for offshore petroleum exploration. Multispectral image sensors simultaneously capture image data within multiple wavelength ranges (bands) across the electromagnetic spectrum. Each band is commonly described by the band number and the band wavelength centre position. Here, we identify the bands most suitable for geological mapping in an Arctic setting, using the Wollaston Forland area as an example. We compare the results obtained by processing spaceborne data with a published geological map for the area (Henriksen 2003).


*Corresponding author: Sara Salehi | Email:

1 Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark.

Helmholtz Center Potsdam, GFZ German Research Center for Geoscience, 14473 Potsdam, Germany.


This article is published in the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin – an international, peer-reviewed and open access journal published by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS).


Salehi, S., Mielke, C., Brogaard Pedersen, C. & Dalsenni Olsen, S. 2019: Comparison of ASTER and Sentinel-2 spaceborne datasets for geological mapping: a case study from North-East Greenland. Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 43, e2019430205.


Supplementary figure:

e2019430205 Fig S1


Figures 2–5 in higher resolution format:

e2019430205 Fig 2A-C

e2019430205 Fig 3A-B

e2019430205 Fig 4A-F

e2019430205 Fig 5A-B


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Date received: 08/04/2019

Date accepted: 27/06/2019

First published online: 17/07/2019


ASTER . Sentinel-2 . Principal Component Analysis . Band depth colour composites . band ratios

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