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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(8), 6867-6896; doi:10.3390/rs6086867

Improving Lithological Mapping by SVM Classification of Spectral and Morphological Features: The Discovery of a New Chromite Body in the Mawat Ophiolite Complex (Kurdistan, NE Iraq)

1
Remote Sensing Group, Institute of Geology, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, B.-von-Cotta-St. 2, D-09596 Freiberg, Germany
2
Iraq Geological Survey, Al-Andalus Square, Baghdad 10068, Iraq
3
Remote Sensing Group, Helmholtz Institute Freiberg of Resource Technology, Halsbrueckerstr. 34, D-09599 Freiberg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 June 2014 / Revised: 15 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 July 2014 / Published: 25 July 2014
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Abstract

The mineral ore potential of many mountainous regions of the world, like the Kurdistan region of Iraq, remains unexplored. For logistical and sometimes political reasons, these areas are difficult to map using traditional methods. We highlight the improvement in remote sensing geological mapping that arises from the integration of geomorphic features in classifications. The Mawat Ophiolite Complex (MOC) is located in the NE of Iraq and is known for its mineral deposits. The aims of this study are: (I) to refine the existing lithological map of the MOC; (II) to identify the best discriminatory datasets for lithological classification, including geomorphic features and textures; and (III) to identify potential locations with high concentrations of chromite. We performed a Support Vector Machine (SVM) classification method to allow the joint use of geomorphic features, textures and multispectral data of the Advanced Space-borne Thermal Emission and Reflection radiometer (ASTER) satellite. The updated map allowed the identification of a new mafic body and a substantial improvement of the geometry of the known lithological units. The use of geomorphic features allowed for the increase of the overall accuracy from 73% to 79.3%. In addition, we detected chromite occurrences within the ophiolite by applying Spectral Angle Mapping (SAM) technique. We identified two new locations having high concentrations of chromite and verified one of these promising areas in the field. This new body covers ~0.3 km2 and has coarsely crystalline chromite within dunite host rock. The chromium (Cr2O3) concentration is ~8.46%. The SAM and SVM methods applied on ASTER satellite data show that these can be used as a powerful tool to explore ore deposits and to further improve lithological mapping in mountainous semi-arid regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zagros; Mawat; ophiolite; chromite; SVM; SAM; ASTER; remote sensing; GIS Zagros; Mawat; ophiolite; chromite; SVM; SAM; ASTER; remote sensing; GIS
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Othman, A.A.; Gloaguen, R. Improving Lithological Mapping by SVM Classification of Spectral and Morphological Features: The Discovery of a New Chromite Body in the Mawat Ophiolite Complex (Kurdistan, NE Iraq). Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 6867-6896.

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