Geographic Information Systems
Remote Sensing, Mineral Leeching, Landsat Data, Mineral Washing
Satellite data on Earth's surface provide a wealth of information on landscape conditions. I use Landsat data to determine an important geologic process that influences the composition of the soils. My project focusses on the experimental hypothesis that we can use plant vigor as a proxy to document mineral washing downslopes through soils. I constructed a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) composite image from Landsat data to help assess vegetation heath in my target location - a national park south of Mount St. Helens. This location was selected because of its steep inclines, dense undisturbed vegetation, and fertile soils. It is my hypothesis that as water trickles down through the soil it picks up and moves the dissolvable minerals downslope, therefore providing more minerals that aid vegetation growth and vigor at the bottom of the slopes. The NDVI analysis presented here provides data that can be used in a more detailed analysis of the same.
Shaffer, Paul C., "An Investigation to Remotely Sense Mineral Leeching Through Soils" (2015). Thinking Matters Symposium Archive. 43.