Mapping Hydrothermal Alteration Zones Associated with Copper Mineralization using ASTER Data: A Case Study from the Mirjaveh Area, Southeast Iran

Document Type : Original Article


Mining Department, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran


In this research, ASTER satellite images and the combined algorithm of band ratios with the method of logical operators with the determination of the threshold limit based on ground, laboratory and experimental studies have been used in order to highlight hydrothermal alterations. Image transformation techniques such as specialized band ratio and principal component analysis are used to map lithologic units and alteration minerals. Supervised classification technique, i.e. Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM) is applied to detect subtle differences between index alteration minerals associated with actual copper localities in the region. The results show that the integration of image transformation techniques and supervised classification of ASTER data with field studies and geochemical exploration is highly effective in targeting new copper mineralization prospects. Copper mineralization is found in siliceous veins that strike from north-south to northeast-southwest across the region. Remote sensing evidence supports the presence of propylitic and argillic alteration, which can be useful for searching for copper-gold type deposits. Kaolinite and pyrophyllite play a role in identifying arzilic alteration zones, and muscoite, epidote and chlorite minerals are very important in identifying pyropilitic and phyllic areas and in mineral exploration. Based on remote sensing processing, according to the detection of various alterations (phyllic, pyrophyllite and argillic) in this area, possible copper mineralization was detected in the central part of the studied area. The approach used in this research provides a quick and cost-effective means of initiating comprehensive geological and geochemical exploration programs in the study area and elsewhere in similar areas.


Main Subjects

  1. Pour, A.B. and Hashim, M., "The application of aster remote sensing data to porphyry copper and epithermal gold deposits", Ore Geology Reviews, Vol. 44, (2012), 1-9.
  2. Tripp, G.I. and Vearncombe, J.R., "Fault/fracture density and mineralization: A contouring method for targeting in gold exploration", Journal of Structural Geology, Vol. 26, No. 6-7, (2004), 1087-1108.
  3. Mars, J.C. and Rowan, L.C., "Regional mapping of phyllic-and argillic-altered rocks in the zagros magmatic arc, iran, using advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer (ASTER) data and logical operator algorithms", Geosphere, Vol. 2, No. 3, (2006), 161-186.
  4. Paez, G.N., Ruiz, R., Guido, D.M., Jovic, S.M. and Schalamuk, I., "Structurally controlled fluid flow: High-grade silver ore-shoots at martha epithermal mine, deseado massif, argentina", Journal of Structural Geology, Vol. 33, No. 5, (2011), 985-999.
  5. Pour, A.B. and Hashim, M., "Identification of hydrothermal alteration minerals for exploring of porphyry copper deposit using aster data, se iran", Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, Vol. 42, No. 6, (2011), 1309-1323.
  6. Rossetti, F., Aldega, L., Tecce, F., Balsamo, F., Billi, A. and Brilli, M., "Fluid flow within the damage zone of the boccheggiano extensional fault (larderello–travale geothermal field, central italy): Structures, alteration and implications for hydrothermal mineralization in extensional settings", Geological Magazine, Vol. 148, No. 4, (2011), 558-579.
  7. Pour, A.B. and Hashim, M., "Identifying areas of high economic-potential copper mineralization using aster data in the urumieh–dokhtar volcanic belt, iran", Advances in Space Research, Vol. 49, No. 4, (2012), 753-769.
  8. Alimohammadi, M., Alirezaei, S. and Kontak, D.J., "Application of aster data for exploration of porphyry copper deposits: A case study of daraloo–sarmeshk area, southern part of the kerman copper belt, iran", Ore Geology Reviews, Vol. 70, (2015), 290-304.
  9. Safari, M., Maghsoudi, A. and Pour, A.B., "Application of landsat-8 and aster satellite remote sensing data for porphyry copper exploration: A case study from shahr-e-babak, kerman, south of iran", Geocarto International, Vol. 33, No. 11, (2018), 1186-1201.
  10. Ahmadirouhani, R., Karimpour, M.-H., Rahimi, B., Malekzadeh-Shafaroudi, A., Pour, A.B. and Pradhan, B., "Integration of spot-5 and aster satellite data for structural tracing and hydrothermal alteration mineral mapping: Implications for cu–au prospecting", International Journal of Image and Data Fusion, Vol. 9, No. 3, (2018), 237-262.
  11. Ge, W., Cheng, Q., Jing, L., Armenakis, C. and Ding, H., "Lithological discrimination using aster and sentinel-2a in the shibanjing ophiolite complex of beishan orogenic in inner mongolia, china", Advances in Space Research, Vol. 62, No. 7, (2018), 1702-1716.
  12. Yazdi, Z., Jafari Rad, A., Aghazadeh, M. and Afzal, P., "Alteration mapping for porphyry copper exploration using aster and quickbird multispectral images, sonajeel prospect, nw iran", Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing, Vol. 46, No., (2018), 1581-1593.
  13. Mujabar, P.S. and Dajkumar, S., "Mapping of bauxite mineral deposits in the northern region of saudi arabia by using advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer satellite data", Geo-spatial Information Science, Vol. 22, No. 1, (2019), 35-44.
  14. Sheikhrahimi, A., Pour, A.B., Pradhan, B. and Zoheir, B., "Mapping hydrothermal alteration zones and lineaments associated with orogenic gold mineralization using aster data: A case study from the sanandaj-sirjan zone, iran", Advances in Space Research, Vol. 63, No. 10, (2019), 3315-3332.
  15. Son, Y.-S., Kim, K.-E., Yoon, W.-J. and Cho, S.-J., "Regional mineral mapping of island arc terranes in southeastern mongolia using multi-spectral remote sensing data", Ore Geology Reviews, Vol. 113, (2019), 103106.
  16. Chattoraj, S.L., Prasad, G., Sharma, R.U., van der Meer, F.D., Guha, A. and Pour, A.B., "Integration of remote sensing, gravity and geochemical data for exploration of cu-mineralization in alwar basin, rajasthan, india", International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Vol. 91, (2020), 102162.
  17. Rowan, L.C. and Mars, J.C., "Lithologic mapping in the mountain pass, california area using advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer (ASTER) data", Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 84, No. 3, (2003), 350-366.
  18. Tangestani, M. and Moore, F., "Comparison of three principal component analysis techniques to porphyry copper alteration mapping: A case study, meiduk area, kerman, iran", Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 27, No. 2, (2001), 176-182.
  19. Kruse, F.A., Boardman, J.W. and Huntington, J.F., "Comparison of airborne hyperspectral data and eo-1 hyperion for mineral mapping", IEEE transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. 41, No. 6, (2003), 1388-1400.
  20. Gersman, R., Ben‐Dor, E., Beyth, M., Avigad, D., Abraha, M. and Kibreab, A., "Mapping of hydrothermally altered rocks by the eo‐1 hyperion sensor, northern danakil depression, eritrea", International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 29, No. 13, (2008), 3911-3936.
  21. Bedini, E., Van Der Meer, F. and Van Ruitenbeek, F., "Use of hymap imaging spectrometer data to map mineralogy in the rodalquilar caldera, southeast spain", International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 30, No. 2, (2009), 327-348.
  22. Mars, J.C., "Mineral and lithologic mapping capability of worldview 3 data at mountain pass, california, using true-and false-color composite images, band ratios, and logical operator algorithms", Economic Geology, Vol. 113, No. 7, (2018), 1587-1601.
  23. Bolouki, S.M., Ramazi, H.R., Maghsoudi, A., Beiranvand Pour, A. and Sohrabi, G., "A remote sensing-based application of bayesian networks for epithermal gold potential mapping in ahar-arasbaran area, nw iran", Remote Sensing, Vol. 12, No. 1, (2019), 105.
  24. Xiao-chang, M., Wen-can, L., Jian-guo, D. and Wei, X., "Comparison between etm+ and aster data for extraction of alteration information: A case study of fenghuangshan orefield, tongling, anhui province", Geoscience, Vol. 19, No. 2, (2005), 309.
  25. WU, Z., GUO, F., LIU, L., Xie, C. and Jiang, Y., "Application of remote sensing alteration anomaly extraction with the method of composite algorithm based on tm/etm images", Geology and Exploration, Vol. 49, No. 3, (2013), 511-522.
  26. Pilong, S., Bihong, F., Yuanxu, M. and Qiang, G., "Remote sensing detection for surface anomalies related to hydracarbon in bashibulake uranium ore, sourthern tianshan", in 2016 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), IEEE., (2016), 6374-6377.
  27. Adiri, Z., El Harti, A., Jellouli, A., Lhissou, R., Maacha, L., Azmi, M., Zouhair, M. and Bachaoui, E.M., "Comparison of landsat-8, aster and sentinel 1 satellite remote sensing data in automatic lineaments extraction: A case study of sidi flah-bouskour inlier, moroccan anti atlas", Advances in Space Research, Vol. 60, No. 11, (2017), 2355-2367.
  28. Rajendran, S. and Nasir, S., "Characterization of aster spectral bands for mapping of alteration zones of volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits", Ore Geology Reviews, Vol. 88, No., (2017), 317-335.
  29. Govil, H., Gill, N., Rajendran, S., Santosh, M. and Kumar, S., "Identification of new base metal mineralization in kumaon himalaya, india, using hyperspectral remote sensing and hydrothermal alteration", Ore Geology Reviews, Vol. 92, (2018), 271-283.
  30. Abubakar, A.J.a., Hashim, M. and Pour, A.B., "Remote sensing satellite imagery for prospecting geothermal systems in an aseismic geologic setting: Yankari park, nigeria", International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Vol. 80, (2019), 157-172.
  31. Guha, A., Yamaguchi, Y., Chatterjee, S., Rani, K. and Vinod Kumar, K., "Emittance spectroscopy and broadband thermal remote sensing applied to phosphorite and its utility in geoexploration: A study in the parts of rajasthan, india", Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, No. 9, (2019), 1003.
  32. Pour, A.B., Hashim, M., Hong, J.K. and Park, Y., "Lithological and alteration mineral mapping in poorly exposed lithologies using landsat-8 and aster satellite data: North-eastern graham land, antarctic peninsula", Ore Geology Reviews, Vol. 108, (2019), 112-133.
  33. Beiranvand Pour, A., Park, Y., Crispini, L., Läufer, A., Kuk Hong, J., Park, T.-Y.S., Zoheir, B., Pradhan, B., Muslim, A.M. and Hossain, M.S., "Mapping listvenite occurrences in the damage zones of northern victoria land, antarctica using aster satellite remote sensing data", Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, No. 12, (2019), 1408.
  34. Zoheir, B., El-Wahed, M.A., Pour, A.B. and Abdelnasser, A., "Orogenic gold in transpression and transtension zones: Field and remote sensing studies of the barramiya–mueilha sector, egypt", Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, No. 18, (2019), 2122. doi.
  35. Zoheir, B., Emam, A., Abdel-Wahed, M. and Soliman, N., "Multispectral and radar data for the setting of gold mineralization in the south eastern desert, egypt", Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, No. 12, (2019), 1450. doi.
  36. Crosta, A., De Souza Filho, C., Azevedo, F. and Brodie, C., "Targeting key alteration minerals in epithermal deposits in patagonia, argentina, using aster imagery and principal component analysis", International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 24, No. 21, (2003), 4233-4240. doi.
  37. Dai, J.-J., Wang, R.-J., Wang, R.-S., Qu, X.-M., Zhao, Y.-Y. and Xin, H.-B., "Porphyry copper deposit prognosis in the middle part of the bangong co-nujiang river metallogenic belt in tibet based on alteration information extraction", Diqiu Xuebao(Acta Geoscientica Sinica), Vol. 33, No. 5, (2012), 755-762. doi.
  38. Yang, R., Li, Z. and Cheng, X., "Information extraction of typical alteration mineral assemblage in porphyry copper using aster satellite data, arequipa province of south peru", Journal of Geo-Information Science, Vol. 14, No. 3, (2012), 411-418.
  39. Zoheir, B. and Emam, A., "Field and aster imagery data for the setting of gold mineralization in western allaqi–heiani belt, egypt: A case study from the haimur deposit", Journal of African Earth Sciences, Vol. 99, (2014), 150-164.
  40. Kumar, C., Shetty, A., Raval, S., Sharma, R. and Ray, P.C., "Lithological discrimination and mapping using aster swir data in the udaipur area of rajasthan, india", Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, Vol. 11, (2015), 180-188.
  41. Eldosouky, A.M., Abdelkareem, M. and Elkhateeb, S.O., "Integration of remote sensing and aeromagnetic data for mapping structural features and hydrothermal alteration zones in wadi allaqi area, south eastern desert of egypt", Journal of African Earth Sciences, Vol. 130, (2017), 28-37. https:// doi:10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2017.03.006
  42. Fereydooni, H. and Mojeddifar, S., "A directed matched filtering algorithm (dmf) for discriminating hydrothermal alteration zones using the aster remote sensing data", International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Vol. 61, (2017), 1-13.
  43. Beiranvand Pour, A., Park, T.-Y.S., Park, Y., Hong, J.K., Zoheir, B., Pradhan, B., Ayoobi, I. and Hashim, M., "Application of multi-sensor satellite data for exploration of zn–pb sulfide mineralization in the franklinian basin, north greenland", Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, No. 8, (2018), 1186. doi: 10.3390/rs10081186.
  44. Noori, L., Pour, A.B., Askari, G., Taghipour, N., Pradhan, B., Lee, C.-W. and Honarmand, M., "Comparison of different algorithms to map hydrothermal alteration zones using aster remote sensing data for polymetallic vein-type ore exploration: Toroud–chahshirin magmatic belt (TCMB), north iran", Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, No. 5, (2019), 495. doi: 10.3390/rs11050495.
  45. Chen, Q., Zhao, Z., Jiang, Q., Zhou, J.-X., Tian, Y., Zeng, S. and Wang, J., "Detecting subtle alteration information from aster data using a multifractal-based method: A case study from wuliang mountain, sw china", Ore Geology Reviews, Vol. 115, (2019), 103182. doi: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2019.103182.
  46. Stöcklin, J., Eftekharnezhad, J. and Hushmandzadeh, A., Central lut reconnaissance east iran, geological survey of iran. 1972, Report.
  47. Camp, V. and Griffis, R., "Character, genesis and tectonic setting of igneous rocks in the sistan suture zone, eastern iran", Lithos, Vol. 15, No. 3, (1982), 221-239. doi: 10.1016/0024-4937(82)90014-7.
  48. Tirrul, R., Bell, I., Griffis, R. and Camp, V., "The sistan suture zone of eastern iran", Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 94, No. 1, (1983), 134-150.<134:TSSZOE>2.0.CO;2
  49. Beygi, S., Talovina, I.V., Tadayon, M. and Pour, A.B., "Alteration and structural features mapping in kacho-mesqal zone, central iran using aster remote sensing data for porphyry copper exploration", International Journal of Image and Data Fusion, Vol. 12, No. 2, (2021), 155-175. doi: 10.1080/19479832.2020.1838628.
  50. Hunter, E. and Power, C., "An assessment of two classification methods for mapping thames estuary intertidal habitats using casi data", International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 23, No. 15, (2002), 2989-3008.
  51. De Carvalho, O.A. and Meneses, P.R., "Spectral correlation mapper (scm): An improvement on the spectral angle mapper (sam)", in Summaries of the 9th JPL Airborne Earth Science Workshop, JPL Publication 00-18, JPL publication Pasadena, CA, USA. Vol. 9, No. Issue, (2000), 2.
  52. Gabr, S., Ghulam, A. and Kusky, T., "Detecting areas of high-potential gold mineralization using aster data", Ore Geology Reviews, Vol. 38, No. 1-2, (2010), 59-69. doi.