District-level mineral survey using airborne hyperspectral data, Los Menucos, Argentina

F. A. Kruse, S. L. Perry, A. Caballero


The Los Menucos District, Rio Negro, Argentina, provides an excellent case history of a complex epithermal
gold system mapped and explored using a combination of field mapping and multispectral/hyperspectral remote
sensing. The district offers a host of argillic and advanced argillic alteration minerals at the surface, many of
which are difficult to identify visually. A strategy utilizing regional targeting with Landsat TM to optimize field
mapping followed by district-level survey with hyperspectral imaging (HSI) data demonstrates the value added
by high-spectral resolution aircraft data. Standardized analysis methods consisting of spatial and spectral data
reduction to a few key endmember spectra provides a consistent way to map spectrally active minerals. Minerals
identified in the Los Menucos district using the JPL Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer
(AVIRIS) include hematite, goethite, kaolinite, dickite, alunite, pyrophyllite, muscovite/sericite, montmorillonite,
calcite, and zeolites. Hyperspectral maps show good correspondence with the results of field reconnaissance
verification and spectral measurements acquired using an ASD field spectrometer. Further analysis of Hyperion
(satellite-based) hyperspectral data indicates that similar mapping results can be achieved from satellite
altitudes. These examples illustrate the high potential of hyperspectral remote sensing for geologic mapping and
mineral exploration.


hyperspectral imaging (HSI);mineral mapping;AVIRIS;EO-1 Hyperion

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3154
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X