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Lineament analysis of mineral areas of interest in Afghanistan

April 30, 2012

During a preliminary mineral resource assessment of Afghanistan (Peters and others, 2007), 24 mineralized areas of interest (AOIs) were highlighted as the focus for future economic development throughout various parts of the country. In addition to located mineral resources of value, development of a viable mining industry in Afghanistan will require the location of suitable groundwater resources for drinking, processing of mineral ores for use or for export, and for agriculture and food production in areas surrounding and supporting future mining enterprises. This report and accompanying GIS datasets describe the results of both automated and manual mapping of lineaments throughout the 24 mineral occurrence AOIs described in detail by Peters and others (2007; 2011). For this study, we define lineaments as "mappable linear or curvilinear features of a surface whose parts align in a straight or slightly curving relationship that may be the expression of a fault or other linear zones of weakness" as derived from remote sensing sources such as optical imagery, radar imagery or digital elevation models (DEMs) (Sabins, 2007).

Water wells in bedrock aquifers are generally more productive where boreholes intersect fractures or fracture zones. Lineament identification and analysis have long been used as a reconnaissance tool to identify such favorable conditions for groundwater resources in carbonate bedrock environments (Lattman and Parizek, 1964; Siddiqui and Parizek, 1971). More recently, lineament analysis has been used to identify areas of greater well yields in other bedrock settings, such as crystalline bedrock (Mabee and other, 1994; Moore and others, 2002). Lineaments provide an indication of bedrock areas that warrant further investigation for optimal water well placement. They may also indicate areas of preferential flow and storage of groundwater, and, thus, areas with a greater density of lineaments may indicate greater secondary porosity. Lineaments may indicate structurally trending mineralized areas (for example, Mars and Rowan, 2007), or locations of near-surface water resources, especially when surface vegetation growth coincides with lineaments.

The purpose of this report and accompanying GIS data is to provide lineament maps that give one indication of areas that warrant further investigation for optimal bedrock water-well placement within 24 target areas for mineral resources (Peters and others, 2011). These data may also support the identification of faults related to modern seismic hazards (for example, Wheeler and others, 2005; Ruleman and others, 2007), as well as support studies attempting to understand the relationship between tectonic and structural controls on hydrothermal fluid flow, subsequent mineralization, and water-quality issues near mined and unmined mineral deposits (for example, Eppinger and others, 2007).

Citation Information

Publication Year 2012
Title Lineament analysis of mineral areas of interest in Afghanistan
DOI 10.3133/ofr20121048
Authors Bernard E. Hubbard, Thomas J. Mack, Allyson L. Thompson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2012-1048
Index ID ofr20121048
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center