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

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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.

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How to Cite
Kruse, F. A., Perry, S. L. and Caballero, A. (2006) “District-level mineral survey using airborne hyperspectral data, Los Menucos, Argentina”, Annals of Geophysics, 49(1). doi: 10.4401/ag-3154.