Science: Ore Detector

Prospecting with sagebrush

Since 1972, geologists have studied Landsat satellite images of the earth's landscape to choose areas to explore for oil, gas, copper and other minerals. Now a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey has studied such pictures and found that concentrations of sagebrush may indicate deposits of uranium.

Geologist Gary Raines reached that conclusion in 1977 when he studied images of a 13,000-sq.-km (5,000-sq.-mi.) section of the Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, taken from 920 km (570 miles) above the earth. He noted that clusters of medium density sagebrush on the photographic maps fell in the same...

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