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ASTER spectral analysis and lithologic mapping of the Khanneshin carbonatite volcano, Afghanistan

January 1, 2011

Advanced Spaceborne Thermal and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data of the early Quaternary Khanneshin carbonatite volcano located in southern Afghanistan were used to identify carbonate rocks within the volcano and to distinguish them from Neogene ferruginous polymict sandstone and argillite. The carbonatitic rocks are characterized by diagnostic CO3 absorption near 11.2 μm and 2.31–2.33 μm, whereas the sandstone, argillite, and adjacent alluvial deposits exhibit intense Si-O absorption near 8.7 μm caused mainly by quartz and Al-OH absorption near 2.20 μm due to muscovite and illite.

Calcitic carbonatite was distinguished from ankeritic carbonatite in the short wave infrared (SWIR) region of the ASTER data due to a slight shift of the CO3 absorption feature toward 2.26 μm (ASTER band 7) in the ankeritic carbonatite spectra. Spectral assessment using ASTER SWIR data suggests that the area is covered by extensive carbonatite flows that contain calcite, ankerite, and muscovite, though some areas mapped as ankeritic carbonatite on a preexisting geologic map were not identified in the ASTER data. A contact aureole shown on the geologic map was defined using an ASTER false color composite image (R = 6, G = 3, B = 1) and a logical operator byte image. The contact aureole rocks exhibit Fe2+, Al-OH, and Fe, Mg-OH spectral absorption features at 1.65, 2.2, and 2.33 μm, respectively, which suggest that the contact aureole rocks contain muscovite, epidote, and chlorite. The contact aureole rocks were mapped using an Interactive Data Language (IDL) logical operator.

A visible through short wave infrared (VNIR-SWIR) mineral and rock-type map based on matched filter, band ratio, and logical operator analysis illustrates: (1) laterally extensive calcitic carbonatite that covers most of the crater and areas northeast of the crater; (2) ankeritic carbonatite located southeast and north of the crater and some small deposits located within the crater; (3) agglomerate that primarily covers the inside rim of the crater and a small area west of the crater; (4) a crater rim that consists mostly of epidote-chlorite-muscovite–rich metamorphosed argillite and sandstone; and (5) iron (Fe3+) and muscovite-illite–rich rocks and iron-rich eolian sands surrounding the western part of the volcano. The thermal infrared (TIR) rock-type map illustrates laterally extensive carbonatitic and mafic rocks surrounded by quartz-rich eolian and fluvial reworked sediments. In addition, the combination of VNIR, SWIR, and TIR data complement one another in that the TIR data illustrate more laterally extensive rock types and the VNIR-SWIR data distinguish more specific varieties of rocks and mineral mixtures.

Publication Year 2011
Title ASTER spectral analysis and lithologic mapping of the Khanneshin carbonatite volcano, Afghanistan
DOI 10.1130/GES00630.1
Authors John C. Mars, Lawrence C. Rowan
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geosphere
Index ID 70034845
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center