Mapping Proterozoic unconformity-related uranium deposits in the Rockhole area, Northern Territory, Australia using landsat ETM+

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The Rockhole area, Northern Territory, Australia, hosts a number of Proterozoic unconformity-related uranium deposits. The geology of the area features within Paleoproterozoic rocks of the Pine Creek Orogen, near the unconformity with overlying platform cover sandstone of the Paleo- to Mesoproterozoic McArthur Basin. Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) data was used in the Rockhole area to assist in mapping geological structures and lithology, and to identify anomalous concentrations of ferrous minerals, the product of alteration, which can be indicators of buried uranium mineralization. Several image-processing procedures were applied to the ETM+ data to identify, isolate and enhance mineralogical information as simple and complex false color composites. ETM+ 754 shown as red green and blue respectively was the best simple image. Overall, complex images based on Principal Component Analysis proved to be the most useful products. Sandstone, shale and siltstone, the target lithologies, Koolpin Formation, the target stratigraphic unit, and bleaching pattern due to the removal of iron(II) compounds, the target alteration pattern, were confidently mapped to provide information required by the mineral emplacement model, which ultimately identified areas of likely uranium mineralization. Thus the contrasting behavior of the two principle oxidation states of uranium and iron can be utilized to map/delineate bleached alteration zones associated with economic concentrations of uranium using multispectral sensors like Landsat or better hyperspectral sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-396
Number of pages15
JournalOre Geology Reviews
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology

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