Advances in Earth Science ›› 2011, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (1): 13-29. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2011.01.0013

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Remote Sensing and Spectral Geology and  Their  Applications to  Mineral Exploration

Yan Shouxun 1, Wu Xiaobo 1, Zhou Chaoxian 2, Liu Zhaohui 3, Zhuang Yongcheng 4,Cao Chunxiang 1, Wei Xinxin 1, Yu Caihong 1, Xiao Chunsheng 1   

  1. 1.Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing100101, China;
    2.China Geological Survey of Nonferrous Metal Resources, Beijing100012, China;
    3.Qinghai Western Resources Corporation,  Xining 810000, China;
    4.Qinghai Geological and Mineral Exploration Company, Xining 810012, China
  • Received:2010-04-22 Revised:2010-08-24 Online:2011-01-10 Published:2011-01-10

Yan Shouxun, Wu Xiaobo, Zhou Chaoxian, Liu Zhaohui, Zhuang Yongcheng. Remote Sensing and Spectral Geology and  Their  Applications to  Mineral Exploration[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2011, 26(1): 13-29.

Based on the papers published in journals including the Review in Economic Geology, Volume 16, 2009. Remote Sensing and Spectral Geology, combined with our new achievements in mineral exploration with Crosta method, a review of remote sensing and spectral geology and  their  applications to mineral exploration are presented in this paper. Here the spectroscopy, broadband remote sensing with TM/ETM and ASTER, hyperspectral remote sensing including surface spectral geological application and airborne hyperspectral geological application, additional with thermal infrared geological application are discussed. The traditional information mapping is mainly interpretation. Modern remote sensing can  not only  extract the geological and alteration information, but also  conduct effective mapping, which is unable to do so  with  other methods. Through combining with geophysics, geochemistry and field and laboratory spectra,  modern remote sensing techniques can be used to improve the understanding  of  the metallogenisis. Spectral geology combined with XRF and GPS can quantitatively map  minerals and alteration in the fields. TM/ETM can be used to extract mineralized alteration information from the ironoxide minerals and hydroxyl minerals to outline the targets on large scale. ASTER has five bands in SWIR, which can distinguish argillic from advanced argillic, phyllic, and propylitic assemblages as well as calcite from dolomites. Shorter wavelength bands were designed to distinguish iron oxides. Jarosite can be distinguished from hematite and limonite. A major technical hurdle is that it must be corrected to reflectance to distinguish these assemblages. Crosta (2009) presents a method by which ASTER can be used for alteration mapping without the need of atmospheric correction, by applying multivariate statistics. ASTER has five thermal bands, but the pixels is 90m, too large, and the signal to noise is poor. Silica and carbonates can be mapped with the thermal bands, but it is noisy and does not always work well. Airborne hyperspectral sensors have effective signaltonoise ratio for mineral mapping. The spaceborne Hyperion has poor signaltonoise ratio, and can not be effectively used for mineral exploration and mapping. The thermal data is an underappreciated and underutilized exploration tool. It has the potential for mapping silica, silicates, and carbonates. High spatial resolution image is useful to rapid assessment for new grassroot exploration area, advanced mineral exploration and mine design and construction. At last, the platform and data selection is discussed, and constructive conclusions are presented.

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