Testing the ability of ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) to map hydrothermal alteration zones : a case study of the Haib Porphyry Copper-Molybdenum Deposit, Namibia

Mhangara, Paidamwoyo (2005-04)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The availability of multispectral data from the satellite-borne ASTER (Advanced Space borne Thermal Emission Reflection Radiometer) sensor with 14 spectral bands, launched on 18 December 1999, ushers in a new dimension in large-scale mineral exploration. The ASTER bands are strategically positioned to map distinctive absorptive features for mapping alteration mineralogy, which has increased the potential to map hydrothermal alteration zones as compared to the conventional Landsat TM satellite and aerial photographs. This research tests the ability of ASTER to map hydrothermal alteration zones by applying various image enhancement techniques and comparing them. The study area is the Haib copper prospect in Namibia. The Crosta technique, standard colour composites, spectral band ratioing, the software defoliant technique, log residuals and spectral linear unmixing were applied and compared against results from the previous detailed geophysical and geochemical exploration. The results from all the techniques corresponded with published geological maps from previous work and indicated ASTER's ability to detect alteration zonations. Comparison of the methods applied showed that choice of technique is usually dependent of the level of detail which one seeks to achieve. Standard colour composite and log residuals are more useful for a generalized overview of the alteration mineralogy, whilst uniquely defining mineral end members is achieved by application of the Crosta technique, ratioing and spectral linear unmixing. Application of the software defoliant techniques involved ratioing results, which are affected by spectral interferences from other minerals. The presence of a highly fractured system has been established by application of Sobel filtering. A spatial association of the extracted fracture system with alteration areas suggest mineralization at the Haib is fracture controlled. The results support the presence of argillicphyllic and prophylitic alteration zones on a regional scale, a scenario which can be equated to the Lowell-Guilbert model. The potassic-phyllic zone boundary could not be spectrally detected which also supports previous studies which suggest the potassic zone is nondefinitive and is over-printed by the phyllic zone. The results demonstrate that ASTER is an effective tool to map hydrothermal alteration systems in arid areas.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Multispektrale data van die ASTER (' Advanced Space Borne Thermal Emmission Reflection Radiometer') sensors bestaande uit 14 spektrale bande, afkomstig van 'n satelliet gelanseer op 18 Desember 1999 lui 'n nuwe era in vir grootskaalse minerale eksplorasie. Die ASTER bande is strategies sodanig op die spektrum geposisioneer om onderskeidende absorberende verskynsels van veranderde mineralisasie te identifiseer. Hierdie data het die potensiaal verhoog om hidrotermale veranderingstelsels meer suksesvol te karteer as met konvensionele Landsat TM beelde en lugfotos. Hierdie navorsing toets die vermoeëns van ASTER om hidrotermale veranderingstelsels te karteer deur 'n wye reeks beeldverrykings tegnieke toe te pas en te vergelyk. Die studiegebied IS die Haib koperafsetting in Namibië. Die Crosta tegniek, standaard kleursamestellings ('colour composites'), ratio-tegnieke, plantegroeistroping ('software defoiliant'), log residuele ('log residual '), en spektrale lineêre ontmenging ('spectral linear unmixing') is toegepas en die resultate met vorige gedetailleerde geofisiese en geo-chemiese veldopnames te vergelyk. Die verkreë resultate van al die verskillende tegnieke het grootliks met gepubliseerde geologiese kaarte van die gebied ooreengestem en bevestig dat ASTER data geskik is om sulke mineralogies veranderde gebiede te karteer. Vergelykings tussen die tegnieke het getoon dat die keuse van tegniek bepaal word deur die vlak en tipe detail wat verlang word. Standaard kleursamestellings en die log residuele tegnieke lewer goeie resultate om veralgemeende oorsigte van mineralogies veranderde sones te verskaf, terwyl die Crosta-, ratio- en spektrale lineêre ontmengingstegnieke meer suksesvol is om spesifieke minerale te identifiseer. Die plantegroei stropingtegniek is nodig in gevalle waar spektrale ratios deur plantegroeiresponse geaffekeer word. Die aanwesigheid van 'n intensief gefraktuurde sisteem is bepaal deur 'n Sobel filter toe te pas. Ruimtelike assosiasies tussen die voorkoms van die gefraktuurde sone met en die minealogies gewysigde sones dui aan dat mineralogiese wysiging in die Haib gebied deur frakturering beheer is. Die resultate steun die aanwesigheid van argillities-fillitiese enpropolities gewysigde sones op 'n streekskaal, 'n scenario wat deur die Lowell-Guilbertmodel voorgehou word. Die grense van die kalium-fillitiese sone kon nie spektraal waargeneem word nie. Dit steun ook vorige studies wat suggereer dat die kaliumsone nieafbakenbaar is en waarskynlik deur die fillitiese sone oorlê word. Die resultate bevestig onomwonde dat ASTER data benut kan word om hidrotermaal veranderde sones in semiariede gebiede effektief te karteer.

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