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Best MSS Bands for Identifying Surface Features

Item Category Best Bands Salient Characteristics
a. Clear Water 7 Black tone in black and white and color.
b. Silty Water 4,7 Dark in 7; bluish in color.
c. Nonforested Coastal Wetlands 7 Dark gray tone between black water and light gray land; blocky pinks, reds, blues, blacks.
d. Deciduous Forests 5,7 Very dark tone in 5, light in 7; dark red.
e. Coniferous Forest 5,7 Mottled medium to dark gray in 7, very dark in 5; brownish-red and subdued tone in color,
f. Defoliated Forest 5,7 Lighter tone in 5, darker in 7 and grayish to brownish-red in color, relative to normal vegetation.
g. Mixed Forest 4,7 Combination of blotchy gray tones; mottled pinks, reds, and brownish-red.
h. Grasslands (in growth) 5,7 Light tone in black and white; pinkish-red.
i. Croplands and Pasture 5,7 Medium gray in 5, light in 7, pinkish to moderate red in color depending on growth stage.
j. Moist Ground 7 Irregular darker gray tones (broad);darker colors.
k. Soils-bare Rock-Fallow Fields 4,5,7 Depends on surface composition and extent of vegetative cover. If barren or exposed, may be brighter in 4 and 5 than in 7, Red soils and red rock in shades of yellow; gray soil and rock dark bluish; rock outcrops associated with large land forms and structure.
1. Faults and Fractures 5,7 Linear (straight to curved), often discontinuous; interrupts topography; sometimes vegetated.
m. Sand and Beaches 4,5 Bright in all bands; white, bluish, to light buff.
n. Stripped Land-Pits and Quarries 4,5 Similar to beaches – usually not near large water bodies; often mottled, depending on reclamation.
o. Urban Areas: Commercial Industrial 5,7 Usually light toned in 5, dark in 7, mottled bluish-gray with whitish and reddish specks.
p. Urban Areas: Residential 5,7 Mottled gray, with street patterns visible; pinkish to reddish.
q. Transportation 5,7 Linear patterns, dirt and concrete roads light, in 5; asphalt dark in 7.

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Primary Author: Nicholas M. Short, Sr. email: nmshort@ptd.net