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Remote-sensor imagery embraces black and white aerial photography--including black and white infrared photography and various film-filter combinations--color aerial photography, color infrared aerial photography, thermal infrared, and radar. For the 3 general types of geomorphic exploration techniques--drainage analysis, tonal analysis, and fracture analysis--no single remote sensor is best. Terrain, vegetative cover, and extent of human activity influence the selection of imagery for analysis.
Black and white and color photography seem best for routine surface--drainage analysis, especially of low-order streams. Thermal infrared and color infrared give considerable information on groundwater-discharge locations and soil-drainage characteristics. Radar imagery allows excellent mapping of higher order drainage patterns of large areas, and is least affected by vegetative cover.
Tonal anomalies are best seen on black and white infrared and black and white panchromatic photography. Color photography is less useful for this technique, and color infrared is poor to unusable, especially in grass-covered regions. Thermal infrared is very poor, and radar cannot be used for tonal studies in exploration geomorphology.
Fracture-trace analysis is done best on stereo-aerial photography of all types, and least well on thermal-infrared and radar imagery. Lineament analysis is done best on aerial photographic mosaics, and particularly well on radar.
Radar and aerial photographic mosaics are well-suited for regional studies, as are images from satellites; aerial photographs and thermal infrared imagery are best for local, detailed studies.
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