Date of Award

Winter 12-8-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Environmental Sciences


Environmental Science

First Advisor

Daniel Unger

Second Advisor

I-Kuai Hung

Third Advisor

David Kulhavy

Fourth Advisor

Yanli Zhang


A remote sensing study was performed to quantify current soil brine contamination across the historic Smackover Oil Field in south-central Arkansas, United States. The oil field was established in 1922 and was not subject to the future waste regulations created by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission. Brine is a waste product of oil manufacturing which contains water with high salt levels. The storage and transport of brine in the oil field created landscape scarring across the study area.

Landsat 9 multispectral digital imagery was utilized to create supervised classification maps based on earthen pits and creek scarring across the Smackover Oil Field. The results from these maps were compared to a previously completed brine contamination study which used Landsat 7 digital imagery to quantify brine contamination from oil production in west Texas.

Upon completion of this brine quantification study, it was determined that the scattered small areas of brine contamination identified as training sites for the supervised classifications of brine and non-brine areas of the Smackover Oil Field could not be quantified using the same classification methods as were used for the west Texas study that utilized larger, more uniform training sites representative of brine contamination. Classifications to quantify brine contamination are scene dependent and for oil fields similar to the Smackover Oil Field, a higher spatial resolution dataset than the 30m Landsat data used would be needed to more precisely quantify brine contamination.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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