Hyperspectral imaging reveals alteration patterns that the human eye simply can’t see. Almost all alteration minerals can be identified and mapped in the infrared, even when fine-grained, and their presence can be objectively and consistently quantified. Quantification provides the means to build accurate sections and 3-D models to ensure that alteration is properly mapped.
Using hyperspectral data allows for the hydrothermal architecture to be rapidly unravelled and understood, and rapid delivery of data permits dynamic drill programs that can be configured on the fly to deliver maximum success.
Hyperspectral imaging can be used to:
Map mineral chemistry via subtle changes in the chemistry of alteration phases that are reflected as distinct and measurable changes in spectral signature. This allows of alteration-related mineralogy to be distinguished from background mineralogy, which as an example can be key in orogenic gold deposits where greenschist facies minerals are often the same as alteration minerals. In addition, changes in the chemistry of minerals can also be used as temperature or Eh/pH vectors towards mineralisation.
Map alteration intensity not only via changes in the magnitude of spectral features, but also in the consistency of mineral chemistry. Where alteration is intense, fluid buffering will control mineral chemistry and cause that to be consistent as opposed to less intense rock-buffered alteration where mineral chemistries will vary.