Application of Landsat-8, Sentinel-2, ASTER and WorldView-3 Spectral Imagery for Exploration of Carbonate-Hosted Pb-Zn Deposits in the Central Iranian Terrane (CIT)

The exploration of carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn mineralization is challenging due to the complex structural-geological settings and costly using geophysical and geochemical techniques. Hydrothermal alteration minerals and structural features are typically associated with this type of mineralization. Application of multi-sensor remote sensing satellite imagery as a fast and inexpensive tool for mapping alteration zones and lithological units associated with carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn deposits is worthwhile. Multiple sources of spectral data derived from different remote sensing sensors can be utilized for detailed mapping a variety of hydrothermal alteration minerals in the visible near infrared (VNIR) and the shortwave infrared (SWIR) regions. In this research, Landsat-8, Sentinel-2, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) and WorldView-3 (WV-3) satellite remote sensing sensors were used for prospecting Zn-Pb mineralization in the central part of the Kashmar–Kerman Tectonic Zone (KKTZ), the Central Iranian Terrane (CIT). The KKTZ has high potential for hosting Pb-Zn mineralization due to its specific geodynamic conditions (folded and thrust belt) and the occurrence of large carbonate platforms. For the processing of the satellite remote sensing datasets, band ratios and principal component analysis (PCA) techniques were adopted and implemented. Fuzzy logic modeling was applied to integrate the thematic layers produced by image processing techniques for generating mineral prospectivity maps of the study area. The spatial distribution of iron oxide/hydroxides, hydroxyl-bearing and carbonate minerals and dolomite were mapped using specialized band ratios and analyzing eigenvector loadings of the PC images. Subsequently, mineral prospectivity maps of the study area were generated by fusing the selected PC thematic layers using fuzzy logic modeling. The most favorable/prospective zones for hydrothermal ore mineralizations and carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn mineralization in the study region were particularly mapped and indicated. Confusion matrix, field reconnaissance and laboratory analysis were carried out to verify the occurrence of alteration zones and highly prospective locations of carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn mineralization in the study area. Results indicate that the spectral data derived from multi-sensor remote sensing satellite datasets can be broadly used for generating remote sensing-based prospectivity maps for exploration of carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn mineralization in many metallogenic provinces around the world.


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