Multisensor Satellite Data and Field Studies for Unravelling the Structural Evolution and Gold Metallogeny of the Gerf Ophiolitic Nappe, Eastern Desert, Egypt

The gold mineralization located in the southern Eastern Desert of Egypt mostly occurs in characteristic geologic and structural settings. The gold-bearing quartz veins and the alteration zones are confined to the ductile shear zones between the highly deformed ophiolitic blocks, sheared metavolcanics, and gabbro-diorite rocks. The present study attempts to integrate multisensor remotely sensed data, structural analysis, and field investigation in unraveling the geologic and structural controls of gold mineralization in the Gabal Gerf area. Multispectral optical sensors of Landsat-8 OLI/TIRS (L8) and Sentinel-2B (S2B) were processed to map the lithologic rock units in the study area. Image processing algorithms including false color composite (FCC), band ratio (BR), principal component analysis (PCA), minimum noise fraction (MNF), and Maximum Likelihood Classifier (MLC) were effective in producing a comprehensive geologic map of the area. The mafic index (MI) = (B13-0.9147) × (B10-1.4366) of ASTER (A) thermal bands and a combined band ratio of S2B and ASTER of (S2B3+A9)/(S2B12+A8) were dramatically successful in discriminating the ophiolitic assemblage, that are considered the favorable lithology for the gold mineralization. Three alteration zones of argillic, phyllic and propylitic were spatially recognized using the mineral indices and constrained energy minimization (CEM) approach to ASTER data. The datasets of ALSO PALSAR and Sentinel-1B were subjected to PCA and filtering to extract the lineaments and their spatial densities in the area.Furthermore, the structural analysis revealed that the area has been subjected to three main phases of deformation; (i) NE-SW convergence and sinistral transpression (D2); (ii) ~E-W far field compressional regime (D3), and (iii) extensional tectonics and terrane exhumation (D4).


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