Development of a Decision Support System based on remote sensing and GIS techniques for gold-rich area identification in SE Spain
Remote sensing techniques and spatial data analysis through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been jointly applied in a mineral exploration context to identify gold-rich potential areas in SE Spain. Results confirm the usefulness of this integrated methodological approach as an effective tool to assess mineral potential in the studied region. Satellite and airborne image analysis have offered valuable thematic information referring both to lithology and altered zone mapping from photointerpretation and digital classification. For this goal, SPOT panchromatic and Landsat TM images were merged in order to obtain high resolution image documents for photointerpretation purposes, and the Feature Principal Component Selection technique was applied to highlight hydrothermal alteration zones characterized by hydroxyl-bearing minerals. Remote sensing results were integrated, in conjunction with existing maps and data from mineral exploration surveys, into the GIS as vector or raster layers. The GIS implementation stage consisted of the creation of a relational database, including a complete set of georeferenced data, and the elaboration of a specific user interface for spatial analysis using GIS facilities in order to establish a Decision Support System (DSS). The system was used to simulate different mineral exploration scenarios, calculating and mapping a Mineral Potential Index that was interpreted in a practical sense in terms of surface reduction and economic costs.
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