Environmental monitoring and assessment, vol.195, no.5, pp.541, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
Kestanbol is one of the most important geothermal fields in NW Turkey. This study conducted the first-ever surveys over a 10 ha reach of the Kestanbol geothermal field using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with visible (RGB) and thermal infrared (TIR) cameras. Low-altitude flights below 40 m above the ground were operated above the Kestanbol geothermal field. Approximately 3500 RGB and TIR images were captured using the UAV. We recorded high-resolution RGB and TIR data of the Kestanbol geothermal field and applied the structure from motion (SfM) algorithm to identify the distribution of geothermal springs and seeps. The Kestanbol geothermal field was monitored to create a georeferenced RGB orthophoto, RGB 3D surface model, thermal anomaly map, and digital surface model (DSM) of the area with centimeter-level accuracy. In the TIR orthophoto, the surface temperature in the geothermal field was found to be between 15 and 75 °C. All the thermal anomalies revealed by the survey were verified by field observations. The geothermal springs and seeps were parallel to the NE-SW regional tectonic trends. The results of this study demonstrate an effective technique for monitoring and assessing geothermal water using UAV-based RGB and TIR imaging and provide an accurate basis for geothermal development projects. RGB and TIR imaging using UAVs are considered promising methods for improving the assessment of the effects of geothermal water on the environment.