-The data distinguish a range of different minerals and snow or vegetation cover
Afghanistan has become the first country whose surface minerals have been mapped from the air.
The US Geological Survey released the results of a
"hyperspectral imaging" effort, in which reflections of light shone from
an aircraft are analysed.
Different minerals - as well as snow or vegetation - reflect specific colours, resulting in a "mineral map".
The map comprises more than 800 million data points corresponding to an area of 440,000 sq km, some 70% of the country.
Afghanistan is known to have vast reserves of oil, gas,
copper, cobalt, gold and lithium. In late 2011, a consortium of Indian
companies inked a deal to begin mining some of the country's large stores of iron.
But the country is known to have a wider array of mineral
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