Academic article reveals hyperspectral interpretation in gold deposits from Victorian drill core

    Published on September 29th, 2016

    CSA Global congratulates Dennis Arne, Managing Director-Principal Consultant of our Vancouver office and all co-authors of the recently published article by Taylor and Francis on “Hyperspectral interpretation of selected drill cores from orogenic gold deposits in central Victoria, Australia”.

    Abstract:

    HyLogger hyperspectral data obtained from seven orogenic gold deposits in central Victoria, including Bendigo, Ballarat, Maldon, Fosterville, Costerfield, Castlemaine and Wildwood, are presented. The data demonstrate that fresh diamond drill core displays substantial mineralogical variation that can be attributed to the effects of cryptic hydrothermal alteration that might not otherwise be recognised. The most significant hyperspectral response lies in the white mica compositions, which vary in a systematic manner between high-Al muscovitic zones (Al–OH absorption around 2208 nm) that define a phyllic alteration halo around mineralised structures, and low-Al phengitic–chlorite zones (Al–OH absorption >2014 nm) inferred to represent either more distal alteration or possibly regional metamorphic background. An extensive ferroan dolomite alteration halo overlaps the phyllic and sulfidic alteration zones and extends beyond the sampled core in most instances. This ferroan dolomite halo has previously been defined petrographically, geochemically and using carbonate staining techniques, and is further characterised using thermal infrared hyperspectral data in drill core from the Ballarat goldfield. The mineralogical trends identified by the hyperspectral data are best developed in diamond drill core from the Costerfield, Fosterville and Ballarat goldfields, and are less pronounced at the other deposits. At Bendigo and Castlemaine the reasons for this are not immediately clear, but may be related to the close timing of gold mineralisation relative to peak metamorphism. The Maldon area lies within the contact aureole of the Harcourt Batholith and so has been thermally overprinted leading to the recrystallisation of earlier hydrothermal assemblages. The Wildwood deposit is similar to the Magdala deposit at Stawell and differs from the other goldfields in its geological setting, host rock lithologies and style of hydrothermal alteration, with the development of Fe-rich chlorite closely associated with gold mineralisation. The results demonstrate how hyperspectral data can be used to define large hydrothermal alteration footprints associated with orogenic gold mineralisation in central Victoria that are of direct benefit to mineral explorers, as well as independently characterising lithological variations in drill core.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Dennis Arne
    Principal Consultant
    Dennis has over (30) years’ experience in exploration in a wide range of environments in both the minerals and the petroleum industries, as an academic, and in geological surveys. In recent years he has been involved as a consultant in the development of exploration programs for precious and base metals exploration in Australia, North America, South America and the Middle East. Specifically, this has included contributing to exploration targeting reviews and understanding gold and base metals mineral systems, the design, management and interpretation of surficial geochemical surveys, the interpretation of lithogeochemical data, the preparation of QA/QC protocols, reviews of geochemical data quality, and contributions to NI43-101 and JORC/Valmin technical reports. He has published extensively in the areas of applied geochemistry, economic geology and thermal history analysis for tectonic and petroleum exploration applications.

    Download full paper

    PUBLISHED BY AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCE
    SEPTEMBER, 2016

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