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20-33. Hyperspectral imaging applied to geoscience studies


Closing Date: January 6, 2022

This Research Opportunity will be filled depending on the availability of funds. All application materials must be submitted through USAJobs by 11:59 pm, US Eastern Standard Time, on the closing date.



We seek candidates to increase knowledge of spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging. Candidates will conduct research to characterize the composition of the Earth’s surface with application to mapping surface material distributions for studies that include mineral resources, geology, soils, biology, and environmental science. This opportunity supports utilization of spectroscopy and imaging data for these topics at multiple levels, from laboratory-based hyperspectral imaging of drill core and hand specimens, to tripod-mounted hyperspectral scanning of outcrop and mine faces, to drone-based imaging for exploration and site characterization, and up to airborne and satellite-based imaging spectrometer datasets. Candidates will join the USGS Denver Spectroscopy Laboratory (SpecLab) with a broad scope of active research in hyperspectral remote sensing. SpecLab facilities include cutting-edge imaging and point-based spectrometers and extensive archives of airborne imaging spectrometer data, including AVIRIS-Classic reflectance data over large portions of CA and NV, and access to satellite-based imaging spectrometer data. SpecLab researchers have access to additional instrumentation for analytical chemistry (e.g., SEM, electron microprobe, XRD, Raman spectrometers) and geoscience datasets (for example, the USGS Spectral Library and sample collection, the National Geochemical database and the EarthMRI airborne geophysics collection), which may be utilized in proposed research.

Candidates from a diverse base of expertise have wide latitude to propose needed research to increase knowledge of spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging and their application to geosciences and environmental science, including but not limited to:

  • mineral chemistry and mineralogic studies utilizing lab spectra,
  • spectral geology of mineral deposits,
  • characterization of natural hazards with hyperspectral data,
  • evaluating legacy mine lands with spectroscopic data,
  • relating overlying vegetation and soil to underlying geology,
  • advancing mineral identification and mapping algorithms,
  • data fusion of hyperspectral data with other spatial data, including airborne geophysics, lidar, radar, multispectral/multi-temporal optical remote sensing, and thermal remote sensing data
  • unmanned aircraft systems and ground-based hyperspectral scanning at fine scales
  • cloud-computing for processing hyperspectral data, and
  • artificial intelligence applied to remote sensing data for geologic applications.

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research Advisor(s) early in the application process to discuss project ideas.

Proposed Duty Station: Lakewood, Colorado

Areas of PhD: Geology, geophysics, geochemistry, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, engineering, computational science, remote sensing, geographic information systems, or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered).

Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Biologist, Research Chemist, Research Computer Scientist, Research Geographer, Research Geologist, Research Geophysicist, Research Physical Scientist, Research Physicist, Research Soil Scientist.

(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above. However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources specialist.)

Human Resources Office Contact: Audrey Tsujita, 916-278-9395,