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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020203

Lithological and Hydrothermal Alteration Mapping of Epithermal, Porphyry and Tourmaline Breccia Districts in the Argentine Andes Using ASTER Imagery

1
CODES, Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 79, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
2
Transforming the Mining Value Chain, an ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 79, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
3
School of Land and Food, Geography and Spatial Science, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 78, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
4
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 49, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
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Abstract

The area of interest is located on the eastern flank of the Andean Cordillera, San Juan province, Argentina. The 3600 km2 area is characterized by Siluro-Devonian to Neogene sedimentary and igneous rocks and unconsolidated Quaternary sediments. Epithermal, porphyry-related, and magmatic-hydrothermal breccia-hosted ore deposits, common in this part of the Frontal Cordillera, are associated with various types of hydrothermal alteration assemblages. Kaolinite – alunite-rich argillic, quartz – illite-rich phyllic, epidote – chlorite – calcite-rich propylitic and silicic are the most common hydrothermal alteration assemblages in the study area. VNIR, SWIR and TIR ASTER data were used to characterize geological features on a portion of the Frontal Cordillera. Red-green-blue band combinations, band ratios, logical operations, mineral indices and principal component analysis were applied to successfully identify rock types and hydrothermal alteration zones in the study area. These techniques were used to enhance geological features to contrast different lithologies and zones with high concentrations of argillic, phyllic, propylitic alteration mineral assemblages and silicic altered rocks. Alteration minerals detected with portable short-wave infrared spectrometry in hand specimens confirmed the capability of ASTER to identify hydrothermal alteration assemblages. The results from field control areas confirmed the presence of those minerals in the areas classified by ASTER processing techniques and allowed mapping the same mineralogy where pixels had similar information. The current study proved ASTER processing techniques to be valuable mapping tools for geological reconnaissance of a large area of the Argentinean Frontal Cordillera, providing preliminary lithologic and hydrothermal alteration maps that are accurate as well as cost and time effective. View Full-Text
Keywords: ASTER; geology; hydrothermal alteration; mineralization; epithermal; porphyry; magmatic-hydrothermal breccia pipe ASTER; geology; hydrothermal alteration; mineralization; epithermal; porphyry; magmatic-hydrothermal breccia pipe
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Testa, F.J.; Villanueva, C.; Cooke, D.R.; Zhang, L. Lithological and Hydrothermal Alteration Mapping of Epithermal, Porphyry and Tourmaline Breccia Districts in the Argentine Andes Using ASTER Imagery. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 203.

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