Analysis of Suspended Material in Lake Mead Using Remote Sensing Indices

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2021


American Society of Civil Engineers

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The effective management of suspended solids and their accompanying contaminants in water bodies requires information on the sources of sediments. Clear water reflects small amounts of solar irradiance, while water loaded with suspended materials (SM) has the potential of reflecting large amounts of sunlight. This study focused on the analysis of SM in Lake Mead, which lies on the Colorado River, using remote sensing spectral indices. Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) satellite images were used to determine the spectral indices such as normalized suspended material index (NSMI), normalized difference suspended sediment index (NDSSI), and band ratio (BR). This paper established relationship between the satellite image and ground truth data obtained from United States Geological Survey (USGS) data. A map of spatial distribution of suspended sediments in Lake Mead was produced. The map showed that high suspended sediments were generally identified at the entry points of Lake Mead, with lower suspended sediments being concentrated at the basins of the lake. Results also showed that an increase in suspended sediment concentration (SSC) produces a corresponding increase in NSMI values. An exponential relationship between SSC and NSMI values, with coefficient of determination (R2) of approximately 0.96, was developed in this study.


Coefficient, determination; Ground truth data; Remote sensing spectral indices; Suspended sediment concentration


Environmental Engineering | Water Resource Management



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