Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


A playa wetland’s ability to retain moisture and water has the greatest influence on the ecological and hydrological functionality of the playa. In this project, Landsat TM/ETM+ satellite imagery was analyzed to determine whether it could be used to detect hydrological functionality of playa wetlands based on their temporal ability to retain soil moisture and water. The project consisted of a ground truth study in which soil moisture, water content, and vegetation data was gathered from the area and related to the satellite imagery pixel values. With this data, a maximum likelihood classifier was created using the mean pixel values and standard deviations of each ground truth wetness category, creating a threshold of values for each wetness category. Based on the results of this study, it was determined from the final analysis that with the correct weather conditions, and accurate rainfall data; Landsat TM/ETM+ band 5 data is capable of detecting a temporal difference in moisture and water presence between undisturbed, disturbed, and altered playa wetlands.


Dr. Tom Schafer

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type



© 2012 Benjamin F. Grover


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Geology Commons