Comparison of different algorithms to map hydrothermal alteration zones using ASTER remote sensing data for polymetallic Vein-Type ore exploration: Toroud-Chahshirin Magmatic Belt (TCMB), north Iran

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Remote Sensing, 2019, 11 (5)
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© 2019 by the authors. Polymetallic vein-type ores are important sources of precious metal and a principal type of orebody for various base-metals. In this research, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) remote sensing data were used for mapping hydrothermal alteration zones associated with epithermal polymetallic vein-type mineralization in the Toroud-Chahshirin Magmatic Belt (TCMB), North of Iran. The TCMB is the largest known goldfield and base metals province in the central-north of Iran. Propylitic, phyllic, argillic, and advanced argillic alteration and silicification zones are typically associated with Au-Cu, Ag, and/or Pb-Zn mineralization in the TCMB. Specialized image processing techniques, namely Selective Principal Component Analysis (SPCA), Band Ratio Matrix Transformation (BRMT), Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM) and Mixture Tuned Matched Filtering (MTMF) were implemented and compared to map hydrothermal alteration minerals at the pixel and sub-pixel levels. Subtle differences between altered and non-altered rocks and hydrothermal alteration mineral assemblages were detected and mapped in the study area. The SPCA and BRMT spectral transformation algorithms discriminated the propylitic, phyllic, argillic and advanced argillic alteration and silicification zones as well as lithological units. The SAM and MTMF spectral mapping algorithms detected spectrally dominated mineral groups such as muscovite/montmorillonite/illite, hematite/jarosite, and chlorite/epidote/calcite mineral assemblages, systematically. Comprehensive fieldwork and laboratory analysis, including X-ray diffraction (XRD), petrographic study, and spectroscopy were conducted in the study area for verifying the remote sensing outputs. Results indicate several high potential zones of epithermal polymetallic vein-type mineralization in the northeastern and southwestern parts of the study area, which can be considered for future systematic exploration programs. The approach used in this research has great implications for the exploration of epithermal polymetallic vein-type mineralization in other base metals provinces in Iran and semi-arid regions around the world.
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