This preliminary study for the First Quarterly Report has spectrally mapped hydrothermally altered minerals useful in assisting in assessment of water quality of the Red River. Airborne Visible-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data was analyzed to characterize mined and unmined ground at Questa, New Mexico. AVIRIS data covers the Red River drainage north of the river, from between the town of Questa on the west, to east of the town of Red River. The data was calibrated and analyzed using U.S. Geological Survey custom software and spectral mineral library. AVIRIS data was tested for spectral features that matched similar features in the spectral mineral library. Goodness-of-fit and band-depth were calculated for each comparison of spectral features and used to identify surface mineralogy. Mineral distribution, mineral associations, and AVIRIS pixel spectra were examined. Mineral maps show the distribution of iron hydroxides, iron sulfates, clays, micas, carbonates, and other minerals. Initial results show a system of alteration suites that overprint each other. Quartz-sericite-pyrite (QSP) alteration grading out to propylitic alteration (epidote and calcite) was identified at the Questa Mine (molybdenum porphyry) and a similar alteration pattern was mapped at the landslide (?scar?) areas. Supergene weathering overprints the altered rock, as shown by jarosite, kaolinite, and gypsum. In the spectral analysis, hydrothermally altered ground appears to be more extensive at the unmined Goat Hill Gulch and the mined ground, than the ?scars? to the east. Though the ?scars? have similar overall altered mineral suites, there are differences between the ?scars? in sericite, kaolinite, jarosite, gypsum, and calcite abundance. Fieldwork has verified the results at the central unmined ?scar? areas.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Mapped minerals at Questa, New Mexico, using airborne visible-infrared imaging spectrometer (AVIRIS) data -- Preliminary report