Rock-type classification by digital-computer processing of Landsat-1 (formerly ERTS-1) multispectral scanner data has been used to select 23 prospecting targets in the Chagai District, Pakistan, 5 of which have proved to be large areas of hydrothermally altered porphyry containing pyrite. The known porphyry copper deposit at Saindak was used as a control area. Empirical maximum and minimum apparent reflectance limits were selected for each multispectral scanner band in each rock type classified, and a relatively unrefined classification table was prepared. Where the values for all four bands fitted within the limits designated for a particular class, a symbol for the presumed rock type was printed by the computer at the appropriate location; these symbols formed a classification map. Drainage channels, areas of mineralized quartz diorite, areas of pyrite-rich rock, and the approximate limit of propylitic alteration were very well delineated on the computer-generated map of the test area. The classification method was then used to evaluate 2,100 km2 in the Mashki Chah region, east of the test area, and a partial check of the results was made in the field. The results of the experiment show that outcrops of hydrothermally altered and mineralized rock can be identified from Landsat-1 data under favorable conditions. The empirical method of digital computer classification of the multispectral scanner data was relatively unrefined and rapid. The five mineralized prospecting sites identified are in locations that I would not have selected as favorable on the basis of geologic knowledge or photogeologic interpretation at the time of the investigation.
Additional publication details
Exploration for porphyry copper deposits in Pakistan using digital processing of Landsat-1 data