Distribution of hydrothermally altered rocks in the Reko Diq, Pakistan mineralized area based on spectral analysis of ASTER data

Remote Sensing of Environment

, , and
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2006.05.014



The Reko Diq, Pakistan mineralized study area, approximately 10??km in diameter, is underlain by a central zone of hydrothermally altered rocks associated with Cu-Au mineralization. The surrounding country rocks are a variable mixture of unaltered volcanic rocks, fluvial deposits, and eolian quartz sand. Analysis of 15-band Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data of the study area, aided by laboratory spectral reflectance and spectral emittance measurements of field samples, shows that phyllically altered rocks are laterally extensive, and contain localized areas of argillically altered rocks. In the visible through shortwave-infrared (VNIR + SWIR) phyllically altered rocks are characterized by Al-OH absorption in ASTER band 6 because of molecular vibrations in muscovite, whereas argillically altered rocks have an absorption feature in band 5 resulting from alunite. Propylitically altered rocks form a peripheral zone and are present in scattered exposures within the main altered area. Chlorite and muscovite cause distinctive absorption features at 2.33 and 2.20????m, respectively, although less intense 2.33????m absorption is also present in image spectra of country rocks. Important complementary lithologic information was derived by analysis of the spectral emittance data in the 5 thermal-infrared (TIR) bands. Silicified rocks were not distinguished in the 9 VNIR + SWIR bands because of the lack of diagnostic spectral absorption features in quartz in this wavelength region. Quartz-bearing surficial deposits, as well as hydrothermally silicified rocks, were mapped in the TIR bands by using a band 13/band 12 ratio image, which is sensitive to the intensity of the quartz reststrahlen feature. Improved distinction between the quartzose surficial deposits and silicified bedrock was achieved by using matched-filter processing with TIR image spectra for reference. ?? 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Distribution of hydrothermally altered rocks in the Reko Diq, Pakistan mineralized area based on spectral analysis of ASTER data
Series title:
Remote Sensing of Environment
Year Published:
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Remote Sensing of Environment
First page:
Last page: