Journal of Geographic Information System, 2010, 2, 11-14
doi:10.4236/jgis.2010.21003 Published Online January 2010 (
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JGIS
ASTER DEM Based Studies for Geological
Investigation around Singhbhum Shear Zone (SSZ)
in Jharkhand, India
University Department of Geology, Ranchi University, Ranchi-834008, Jharkhand, India
Abstract: Singhbhum Shear Zone (SSZ) is a geologically rich belt with structures like faults and folds b eing
the distinctive features. Due to these characteristics this area has been an important centre of studies since
past few decades. With the advent of Remote Sensing and GIS, it has been possible to study and interprete
geological setting of any area in the laboratory itself w ithout even vi siting the field again an d again. The pr e-
sent study aims to investigate the geology of the SSZ from ASTER DEM by observing the elevation, aspect,
texture, pattern etc of shaded relief images. This can prove to be an ex cellent supplementary information da-
tabase for interpretations along with other data.
Keywords: RS-GIS, ASTER DEM, Singhbhum Shear Zone (SSZ), geological structure
1. Introduction
With the introduction of computer technologies the rela-
tionships between the map and map documentation is
subjected to the GIS standards. However, the modern
computer technologies may provide additional tools for
geological mapping which may improve better agree-
ment of determined geological units with the terrain to-
pography. One of such tools is the Digital Elevation
Model (DEM) which can serve both as information
Figure 1. Location Map (source:
source for finding geological boundaries, controlling
elevations, and at the same time play a role in prepara-
tion of the base map as well as various surficial thematic
maps.( S. Ostaficzuk, 2005). A digital elevation model
(DEM) is a digital representation of ground surface to-
pography or terrain. It is used for many purposes like
providing flood and landslide risk zone, highways and
corridor selection including cut and fill estimation etc.
These data are also good for geological interpretation
particularly in terms of geomorphology, rock type and
structure (Sarapirome et al. 2002).
SSZ is an arcuate belt which is one of the most well
known mineral abun dant zones in the country and ex ten-
sive mineral exploration has been carried out in this zone
since long. The study area falls in the SSZ and is ex-
tended between 22° 41'N: 86° 14 ' E and 22 ° 28 ' N: 86 °
27 'E in the south east confined in the East Singhbhum
district of Jharkhand (Figure 1).
2. Materials and Methods
Data used: Software used:
2. Arc GIS 9.3
The input data for the present study is ASTER DEM
having 15m resolution. The aspect mapping which may
help in knowing the topographical and geological fea-
tures is generated from the DEM in ArcGIS platform. A
number of shaded relief images are also generated from
the DEM having different azimuth, sun angle and verti-
cal exaggeration. It is seen that different sun angle and
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JGIS
Figure 2. Flowchart showing methodology
Figure 3. Aspect Map of study area
azimuth help in enhancing different features. On these
parameters the various interpretations are made based on
the shaded relief images, aspect map with reference to
the existing geomorphological and lithological maps.
The results are hereby presented in this pa per (Fi gu re 2) .
3. Data Interpretation
Shaded relief images can help in extracting information
about geomorphology, rock types and structure of an area.
From the shaded relief image, the morphology which is
described as extent, size, shape, height, variation of slope
and aspect on the surface can be identified. Geological
structures look curvilinear or linear on an image, out of
which the curvilinears may indicate dome structures and
the linears may indicate faults (Lillesand et al.1979)
In the present study, aspect map of the study area is
prepared from the ASTER DEM and the shaded relief
images are enhanced by changing the sun angle, azimuth
and height exaggeration in different images. Changes in
texture and pattern are seen in different parts in different
images after the enhancements. It also helps in enhancing
the rock type and structures to a certain extent. The en-
hanced features observed when the sun angles and azi-
muth are changed are as follows-
1 The NW elongated and arcuate shaped hilly
areas associated with faults are seen in the middle part of
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JGIS
the images. (Figure 4 & 5)
2 The NE-SW flowing water body on the NE
side of the images indicates presence of lineaments.
(Figure 4,6 & 8)
3 The intermontane areas in the mid and south-
ern part of the images with scattered hills indicate sur-
face beds of the outcrops. (Figure 6,7 & 8)
In the process of identifying the geology of the study
area from the shaded relief images, an already prepared
lithological map of the same area was referred to. Hilly
range is found running diagonally across the study area
in the shape of an arc an d it is suppo sed to be made up of
quartzites. To the NE portion of the hilly area lies a rug-
ged topography without much drainage and without
much change in slope and elevation. These are made up
of metamorphic lithotypes of schists and phyllites. The
SW portion of the study area seems to be made up of
hard granitic rocks due to the texture and its association
with the mountains. Intrusive rocks like dolerites are also
supposed to be present in the intermontane valleys.
Figure 4. Shaded Relief Image (Azimuth 315, Sun angle75,
Vertical exaggeration 5x)
Figure 5. Shaded Relief Image (Azimuth 315,Sun angle 45,
Vertical exaggeration 3x)
Figure 6. Shaded Relief Image (Azimuth 45, Sun angle45)
Figure 7. Shaded Relief Image (Azimuth 315,Sun angle10)
Copyright © 2010 SciRes JGIS
Figure 8. Shaded Relief Image (Azimuth 225, Sun angle10)
4. Conclusion
It is seen that DEM data can be used for geological in-
terpretation in terms of geomorphology, materials and
structure/ lineaments recognition but not to a very de-
tailed level (Drury, 1987). It can be used for defining the
structure, morphology etc of an area but as it lacks in-
formation like that of vegetation cover or soil moisture it
cannot be trusted to give an accurate interpretation of the
geology. DEM data, however cannot be ignored alto-
gether as it can be very useful in giving an overview of
the geology of any area especially where no other data is
available for study. It can also prove to be a reliable
source of supplementary datatabase in the visual inter-
pretation as far as Remote Sensing and GIS is concerned.
Reconnaissance survey before the interpretation can fur-
ther help to identify the characteristic features seen
through the imag eries.
For better results an integrated datasets like topograp-
hical maps, aerial photographs, satellite data and ground
data generated by previous workers can be h i ghl y usef ul .
5. Acknowledgements
This work has been carried out under the ISRO-SAC
(RESPOND) Project (SAC Code: 0GP62, ISRO Code:
10/4/556), Department of Space, Govt. of India. We are
thankful for the support provided by the Head of the Un-
iv. Dept. of Geology, Ranchi University. We also thank
Dr. A.T.Jeyaseelan, Director, JSAC for his kind motiva-
tion and co-operation. Dr. T.J.Majumder SAC focal per-
son under the project is also gratefully acknowledged for
his sharing and academic comments.
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