Just as popular a technique with geothermal explorationists as with hard rock mining explorationists, near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has proven to be a valuable tool in rapidly characterizing the mineral alteration assemblages in and around geothermal deposits. Many alteration minerals in and around a geothermal deposit can be quickly identified in the field by NIR spectroscopy allowing for quicker, more accurate deposit modeling and more cost effective exploration programs.
NIR spectroscopy is a consistent, cost-effective technology that has been used for decades in the analysis of worldwide natural resources. As a rapid and reliable mineral exploration technique, it has proven to be an ideal mineral identification tool for geologists and earth researchers. When compared to other mineral techniques, NIR spectroscopy can:
- Provide real-time results for real-time decision making
- Easy technician-level operation with no safety concerns
- Cost effectively analyze hundreds of samples in a day
- Flexible, mobile setup: in the field, core shack, adjacent to drill rig, field camp, laboratory, office
- Provide In situ field measurements
- Handle a variety of sample types with little or no sample preparation required
Reflectance spectroscopy is well suited and commonly used for the identification and characterization of minerals associated with hydrothermal deposits:
- Epithermal minerals such as alunite, halloysite, smectites, chlorites, dickite, illites, zeolites, calcite, hematite, opaline silica and others
- Mesothermal and Porphyry minerals such as sericite, muscovite, biotite, actinolite, pyrophillite, gypsum, clay minerals, epidote and others
- Differentiate clay species: delineate different types of kaolins, illites and smectites
- Iron minerals such as hematite, goethite, garnets, and pyroxenes
- Carbonates: calcite, dolomite
- Chlorites and serpentines
- Other hydroxyl-containing minerals such as amphiboles, epidotes, apatite, tourmalines, topaz, diaspore, and many of the arsenates
- Hydrous silicates such as opal, beryl, and zeolites
ASD developed the TerraSpec Halo and the TerraSpec 4 as user-friendly, rapid, field-portable systems for characterizing hundreds of mineralogical samples per day. TerraSpec instruments adapt easily to different environments—the laboratory, the field, or a drilling site—providing the real-time information necessary to optimize mining exploration processes. The system can be used to develop a wide range of models for analyzing many sample types, including outcrops, hand specimens, core and drill chips—all with little or no sample preparation.
Contact us for more information on ASD’s role in rapidly characterizing the mineral alteration assemblages in and around geothermal deposits.