Many mineral deposits precipitate from hydrothermal fluids transporting metals along faults. The fluids transform the primary minerals of the host rock into alteration minerals that are more stable under the new temperature and pH conditions. Identifying these alteration corridors enables us to prioritize and concentrate exploration efforts on the most prospective faults.
Alteration geology studies rely on the collection, analysis, and interpretation of field observations and hyperspectral infrared spectra (IRS). Collected in less than 30 seconds with a field-transportable hyperspectral infrared spectrometer, IRS give geologists evidence of some of the alteration minerals present and information about their composition and crystallinity. IRS is also key in exploration for porphyry-epithermal style deposits, where large amounts of fluids near the earth’s surface mix with mineralizing fluids to produce extensive alteration halos.
In addition to being used for exploration, IRS helps geologists identify areas posing metallurgical or geotechnical risks in mines.
How alteration mapping significantly enhances the understanding of exploration and mining projects
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