Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finding Black Earth

This project, presented by Crystal McMichael of the Florida Institute of Technology and reported on by Nadia Drake for Wired magazine, uses satellite data to try and tease out the difference between vegetation growing on terra preta (black earth or Amazonian Dark Earth) and other soils. Because black earth is so strongly associated with archaeological sites, this research could allow the vegetation signature (defined by how the trees and plants reflect energy to the EO-1 satellite) to be used to find cultural remains, at a continental scale. When this kind of satellite imagery is combined with field survey (called ground truthing) then the reliability of the imagery is tested, and the survey results can be used to address larger questions.

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