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Integration of remote-sensing alteration mapping and regional geochemistry into new
geospatial-statistical, quantitative mineral resource methods

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Introduction:

Regional hydrothermal alteration maps compiled from remote sensing data (phyllic, argillic, propylitic, and silicic types) and regional geochemical datasets for the southwestern United States are now available in Geographic Information Systems format. Rock alteration and regional geochemical mapping have traditionally been used with geologic maps to define mineral exploration targets and as a guide to resource assessment, but these and other regional geophysical data, such as gravity and geomagnetics have often not been thoroughly evaluated or integrated into mineral resource studies. We plan to use geospatial and statistical techniques to integrate remote-sensing, geochemical, and other regional geophysical data into new quantitative methods to map mineral resource prospectivity. The new quantitative methods will provide a basis for investigating problems such as

  1. identification and ranking of potential deposit sites;
  2. estimation of depth to covered potential deposit sites by effectively integrating datasets such as geomagnetics, ASTER alteration patterns, topography and drill core data;
  3. quantitatively determine uncertainty for datasets; and
  4. better integration of data compiled using quantitative methods into regional commercial exploration and mineral assessment projects. See our publications page, http://minerals.usgs.gov/east/newgeospatial/products.html.

The available geologic framework, remote-sensing coverage, regional geochemistry, and mineral deposit and prospect data for porphyry copper and epithermal-related mineralization in the southwestern U.S. will provide a well constrained study area to develop and test the new quantitative techniques. Digital datasets and geospatial-geostatistical algorithms that make up the new geospatial-statistical quantitative methods will be synthesized and compiled in a geographic information system that will allow for more efficient access and analysis of the data and assessment results. Thus, the new quantitative methods will enhance mineral assessments, regional mineralogical and tectonic studies, and exploration by effectively combining and using state-of-the-art remote sensing , geophysical and geochemical digital datasets to quantitatively identify and define potential deposit sites and map mineral resource prospectivity.

Project chief: John C. Mars / email jmars@usgs.gov / phone 703-648-6302

 

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