Mapping Listvenite Occurrences in the Damage Zones of Northern Victoria Land, Antarctica Using ASTER Satellite Remote Sensing Data

Listvenites normally form during hydrothermal/metasomatic alteration of mafic and ultramafic rocks and represent a key indicator for the occurrence of ore mineralizations in orogenic systems. Hydrothermal/metasomatic alteration mineral assemblages are one of the significant indicators for ore mineralizations in the damage zones of major tectonic boundaries, which can be detected using multispectral satellite remote sensing data. In this research, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) multispectral remote sensing data were used to detect listvenite occurrences and alteration mineral assemblages in the poorly exposed damage zones of the boundaries between the Wilson, Bowers and Robertson Bay terranes in Northern Victoria Land (NVL), Antarctica. Spectral information for detecting alteration mineral assemblages and listvenites were extracted at pixel and sub-pixel levels using the Principal Component Analysis (PCA)/Independent Component Analysis (ICA) fusion technique, Linear Spectral Unmixing (LSU) and Constrained Energy Minimization (CEM) algorithms. Mineralogical assemblages containing Fe 2+ , Fe 3+ , Fe-OH, Al-OH, Mg-OH and CO3 spectral absorption features were detected in the damage zones of the study area by implementing PCA/ICA fusion to visible and near infrared (VNIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands of ASTER. Silicate lithological groups were mapped and discriminated using PCA/ICA fusion to thermal infrared (TIR) bands of ASTER. Fraction images of prospective alteration minerals, including goethite, hematite, jarosite, biotite, kaolinite, muscovite, antigorite, serpentine, talc, actinolite, chlorite, epidote, calcite, dolomite and siderite and possible zones encompassing listvenite occurrences were produced using LSU and CEM algorithms to ASTER VNIR+SWIR spectral bands. Several potential zones for listvenite occurrences were identified, typically in association with mafic metavolcanic rocks (Glasgow Volcanics) in the Bowers Mountains.Comparison of the remote sensing results with geological investigations in the study area demonstrate invaluable implications of the remote sensing approach for mapping poorly exposed lithological units, detecting possible zones of listvenite occurrences and discriminating subpixel abundance of alteration mineral assemblages in the damage zones of the Wilson-Bowers and Bowers-Robertson Bay terrane boundaries and in intra-Bowers and Wilson terranes fault zones with high fluid flow. The satellite remote sensing approach developed in this research is explicitly pertinent to detecting key alteration mineral indicators for prospecting hydrothermal/metasomatic ore minerals in remote and inaccessible zones situated in other orogenic systems around the world.


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