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Remote sensing of Carhuarazo volcanic complex using ASTER imagery in Southern Peru to detect alteration zones and volcanic structures – a combined approach of image processing in ENVI and ArcGIS/ArcSce

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Brandmeier, Melanie
Geocarto International
A combined approach to detect hydrothermal alteration zones and their mineral distribution is proposed for a relatively remote area around the Carhuarazo volcanic complex in southern Peru encompassing 2222 km2. In this region, tertiary volcanic structures associated with hydrothermal alteration are well known to host epithermal ore deposits. We make an attempt to detect and to quantify alteration minerals based on spectral analysis using ASTER reflectance data product provided by LP-DAAC. Besides commonly used ratio images, mineral indices (MI) and relative band depth images (RBD), we also extracted endmember spectra using Pixel-Purity-Processing preceded by minimum noise fraction transformation. These spectra are thought to represent the spectrally purest pixel of the image and show the typical absorption features of the main constituents. Based on this assumption, we used different spectral analysis methods in order to extract the most important alteration minerals for such an environment. These minerals were then used for matched filter processing in areas showing high values in MIs and RBDs. Using this method, we detected and mapped argillic alteration and variations in the distribution of important minerals like alunite, kaolinite or nacrite. There were no indications for the presence of propilitization at ASTER spatial resolutions. Our method can be applied easily to any ASTER scene and provides information about the intensity of alteration and the character of alteration zones. The intensity is highest in the centre of the Carhuarazo volcanic complex and is mostly argillic with a high content of alunite, dickite and other clay minerals.
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